Oct 14, 2009

Students March for Justice

The National Mall in Washington, DC has been the epicenter for many of America's most memorable social justice moments.  Last Sunday was no different as tens of thousands of people marched and rallied for LGBT rights during the National Equality March.  While many participants were stalwart civil rights activist veterans and seasoned political leaders, young people played a large role in the historic events.  Students from New York, Kentucky, and Minnesota spoke to the crowd, which included hundreds of their college-going peers.
The United States Student Association (USSA), the country’s oldest and largest student-led organization, believes that no one should be denied basic human rights on account of sexual orientation or gender identity.  “It is important for students to be engaged in the fight for LGBT rights because social justice isn't secured for just one group but for all those who seek a better world,” said Gregory Cendana, the organization’s first openly gay Asian American President.
In addition to the traditional access and affordability barriers to a higher education, LGBT students face potentially unsafe living conditions, homophobic classmates and professors, institutional heterosexism, and an overall lack of university support.  "Queer students joined the National Equality March in order to demonstrate that we are tired of injustices and have the numbers to prove it," said USSA Queer Students Coalition chair Nestor Rivera, a student at UC Santa Cruz.

Queer students of color face particular obstacles in the fight for social justice and the USSA works with the community to address some of the specific challenges. “As both queer and students of color, one of the obvious but unique struggles that we face is reconciling the intersection of these identities,” said USSA Queer Students of Color Caucus chair Rich Yap, a student at UCLA.
The National Equality March, and students across the country, showed the world that the LGBT community will no longer allow the dreams of equality and justice to be deferred by political conveniences. The USSA urges all Americans to participate in the National Day of Silence on April 16, 2010. 

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