The Student Senate has proposed the writing of a new resolution for our campus in response to the tragic loss of life in Charlottesville, the death of Heather Heyer, and the largest white-supremacist rally in decades. While welcoming, and honoring free speech and expression, the SSCC is challenged to simultaneously condemn anything which entices the hate and violence displayed in Charlottesville, and following related demonstrations here at home in the Bay Area on Aug. 26 in San Francisco and Berkeley. In no way may the proposed resolution impede on free speech as a constitutional right, and expression of the essence of life’s boundless perspectives.
The air of our society is stale with hate and intolerance by way of ignorance. Can the leaders of today guide us to a more tolerable atmosphere of sustenance? Should they, or should ‘We the People’ be the pressuring catalyst by which our representatives seek ultimate direction?
This is a democracy. In an interview with the student body president, Zaheer Ebtikar, we spoke of the tragedy in Charlottesville, the SSCC’s proposed response, about leadership, power, and his thoughts on how students can exercise their power. “They can use it in any way they want,” president Ebtikar says, going on to describe the influence that hundreds of students had on the SSCC and the board of directors while deciding on sanctuary status.
The collected effort and energy behind whole intentions and like-minds is the most precious resource in existence making it truly unlimited. One which can alleviate the pains of our society and bring the change ‘We the People’ wish to see, the particular pains of hate, injustice, and poverty. Mal intended leaders and misguided power is the most lethal weapon fighting for the systems and cycles of poverty, injustice, and hate. The Unite the Right rally of Aug. 11th and 12th was a gruesome example of mal-intention and misguided power. Their expressed goal was to protest the removal of a statue portraying Robert E. Lee from a park formerly recognized as Lee park, now formally renamed Emancipation park as of June 5th.
Lee was a distinguished confederate general who himself took a two-year leave from military service to personally run a plantation. In an 1866 interview published in The National Anti-Slavery Standard, Wesley Norris, formerly under Lee’s servitude, describes Lee’s prescribed punishment for escape or rebellion of his authority. The hate, injustice, and slavery upheld by a confederate general who died in 1870, over 100 years ago, is reverberating today through the removal of a Confederate monument. The direction of power is often put, and left in the hands of men with bad intentions and perverted ideas of power, and their lasting influence.
Behind the collective is where leaders belong, guiding and moving the power through the minds and bodies of the people. Leaders are thought of as in front, or on the top, often controlling, not understanding that the essence of power is to empower.
To empower yourself, to be your own leader, to empower others through the light of their own power bestowed upon them at birth is the essence of power and the catalyst to have a collective which will organize and sustain long-lasting change in the fight against hate, violence and the cycles of oppression through poverty. The Student Senate of Chabot College is utilizing power to combat hate and violence. Every SSCC meeting is open to the public, by law. Senate meetings held in building 200, inside the Boardroom are every first, third and fifth Monday of every month. Students are urged to join. Without us students voicing our concerns, our wants, and our needs, the SSCC has little to represent.