Following the 10-day march organized by Decarcerate PA, I attended a student rally against school budget cuts in Philadelphia on June 14, 2013. In the pouring rain, over 200 persons listened to speeches in Love Park. We proceeded to march from there to Governor Corbett’s office a mile down the road. The crowd, consisting mostly of high school students and teachers part of Philadelphia Student Union, was led by several religious clergy members associated with the organization POWER. Demonstrators carried placards that read: “Like Democracy? Support Public Schools!!” “Let Us Keep Kids Safe” and “Priorities?” I proudly showed-off my participation in the 10-day march by wearing my highlighted-color vest, with “Fund Schools Not Prisons” written across the back.
The rain stopped coming down as we marched, and the sun came out as clergy members, students and recently fired teachers began making speeches. Behind them, blocking the door of the building, stood a dozen cops. Similar to my experience in the 10-day march, we received wide support from bystanders and passing vehicles. Governor Corbett continued to hurt his case, when he refused to meet with a small delegation of religious leaders, students and teachers in his office.
The event was covered by local newspapers and Fox News. I felt the demonstration was worthwhile, since it publicized Corbett’s anti-education policies, which partially led to his low approval ratings and finally to his loss in the next election in 2014. It was also worth meeting the students who were willing to fight back against the state for a decent living. Moreover I was able to run into several people from Decarcerate PA, who I had not seen since the march. This included Ashley Henderson and Nikki Gee, with whom I became closest to during the march. Afterward, us three walked several blocks with some the of the students who were at the rally, and we discussed future events that we would attend that summer.