Monday, September 24

Prop. 187 kicks off debate about valuesTake charge of ‘Save Our State’: educate, organize, demonstra


Take charge of 'Save Our State': educate, organize, demonstrate

John Du John Du is an third-year undeclared
student who works in the external vice president’s office.




Those of you who were on campus Monday morning at around 9
probably had to evacuate the building you were in because of power
failure. Unfortunately, I was stuck in an elevator with another
person for about 20 minutes not knowing when the elevator doors
would pry open. The thought of suffocation raced through my mind
briefly, but I knew that paranoia resulted from the stories I heard
as a kid.

Then it hit me that I was completely helpless. I was blind and
had not a clue as to how I would get out. I had to depend on people
outside the elevator, who also had no clue how to open the doors.
Frustration and anger began to settle in and I started cussing in
my mind at the people outside. How could they be so stupid and
unprepared? What if this was an earthquake and we really were
suffocating?

Ever felt angry because you were helpless and blind in a
situation? You know that feeling, right? You know … when you get
all pissed off because you can’t do anything about somebody except
cuss at the people you think are responsible.

How about this. Ever gotten angry at a politician? Pretty stupid
question, huh? Well, I can recall countless occasions where I used
every foul word in my vocabulary to curse Gov. Wilson and his
posterity. I accomplished nothing except the realization that my
anger is futile unless it is channeled into something
constructive.

Recently, I have been infuriated by the Wilson campaign’s
political strategies. Yes, I am talking about Proposition 187,
which would prevent immigrants from receiving health care and
access to education. If passed, Proposition 187 would jeopardize
$15 billion of federal funding that California receives mainly for
health care and education.

The purpose of writing this article is not to get into the
details of the issue, however. The basis for this article is to
challenge all of you to take a step back from your busy schedules
to first realize that you are being played by politicians, and
secondly to organize against Proposition 187.

The politicians in power want you to think that they are not
responsible for the economic problems facing California, even
though they are the policymakers who have influence and resources.
Instead, they want you to think that undocumented immigrants are
the source of the problems. Here’s a reality check.

According to a 1992 INS study of undocumented immigrants, less
than 0.5 percent of undocumented immigrants received food stamps of
AFDC and about half of the undocumented immigrants had private
health insurance. In addition, immigrants over their lifetime pay
$15,000 to $20,000 more in taxes than they receive in government
benefits (Julian Simon, The Economic Consequences of Immigration,
University of Maryland, 1989).

Apparently, Proposition 187 proponents anticipate that voters
will not know enough about the initiative’s inherent fiscal and
social ramifications. Fundamentally, the ratification of this
proposition will depend upon our ignorance, fears and
prejudices.

It is imperative that we organize to educate those who are not
familiar with Proposition 187 with the issues surrounding it. On
Thursday, Oct. 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the October Student
Movement in conjunction with the Californians United Against
Proposition 187 is holding a rally at Schoenberg Quad to educate
students on the initiative’s implications.

This event is one of the few statewide student-spearheaded
rallies in history that will bring together groups from all facets
of life. Students (both high school and college), student advocacy
groups, faculty, community leaders and public officials will speak
on why all Californians – not just immigrants – would be affected
by Proposition 187. The idea is to counter the scare tactics by
educating the public in order to make an informed choice instead of
a choice shrouded by prejudices and fears.

An integral part of this Oct. 6 rally will involve a massive
push to register students to vote. Many students feel that they
don’t make a difference and that one vote doesn’t count.

In the last election, Gov. Wilson won by 250,000 votes. There
are 35,000 students at UCLA and 160,000 students in the UC system.
In all, there are 2 million higher education students in
California. Why are these numbers important? Well, if students vote
as a block we can determine the next governor – literally. If this
sounds like rhetoric to you, just look at the numbers.

Although many of us have strong convictions against racism,
scapegoating and Proposition 187; we as Californians, and
especially as students, have much to lose if Proposition 187
passes.

If you do not know much about Proposition 187, I challenge you
to come to the rally Oct. 6 to educate yourself. Listen to speakers
break down the issues and explain Proposition 187′s possible
effects on the economy, the community and Californians in general.
By the way, remember to register to vote!

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