ASI and BSU collaboration brings peaceful protest to Cal State LA

Student organizations invited campus community to protest in honor of George Floyd

As people gathered at King Hall and prepared to march around campus in solidarity with the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, they raised their fists in support of the protest that have been going on worldwide for the past two weeks.

Cal State LA students took it upon themselves to put together a peaceful protest on campus on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Associated Students Inc. (ASI) and Black Student Union (BSU) collaborated once students on the Cal State LA Facebook exchange began speaking about gathering to protest police brutality and honor George Floyd. ASI president Diana Chavez saw the posts and decided to reach out to BSU president Joseph Brown to get the ball rolling.

“I informed [Brown] about having a protest and from the start he was very supportive about it. He liked the idea so we came up with the… date and time and started promoting the protest from there,” said Chavez.

Brown said he appreciated the support from ASI as the BSU president since the history between the two wasn’t “a very bright one.”

“ASI wanted to use their platform first to help the black community and speak out about the injustices going on and offer support during these times while also wanting to strengthen the bonds between the black community and ASI,” said Brown.

The protestors kept their social distance and wore their masks to be safe as the coronavirus pandemic continues. ASI and BSU even handed out hand sanitizer bottles and disposable face masks.

BSU members rallied in speeches, mobilized the crowd and projected a message of “power and unity.”

“That is what I care about as president. [Let me] see you not only talk, but put in that work to show that you truly support [the effort] and want to make change,” Brown said.

The power of social media and word of mouth brought a turnout BSU member Kaylin Drake said she was happy with. She added that anyone can sit behind a screen and express support but it’s the people who showed up that proved to them they were not alone.

“To me, people coming out shows that they are willing to do more than just talk. They are willing to put in work and speak out,” said Drake.

Protestor Nayely Payan said the event was “very healing.” She was empowered by the campus community as so many different departments showed up to the protest. The protest started in front of the campus bookstore and marched around, getting honks from passing cars in support.

“Seeing all of us unite for the Black Student Union and Black lives all across the country empowered myself, and others, and made us understand that the changes we want and need can only be done if we all unite for each other,” said Payan. 

Despite the fall semester being online, Chavez said she has hope that the Cal State LA community will stand with each other, no matter if they are in an organization or just a student. According to Chavez, organizations have love and support from one another, which she hopes will lead to more collaborations in the future.

BSU President Brown said he wanted the protest to show a sign of unity to Cal State LA: “A closed fist is harder to break through than an open hand.”