UCLA students call for funding of Black Resource Center, divestment of UCPD at campus protest

WESTWOOD — UCLA’s Black Graduate Student Association hosted a protest to show solidarity with all those who have died in officer-involved killings and proclaim a list of demands of the government and the University of California system.

At 1 p.m., around 500 protesters gathered in between Royce Hall and Powell Library on the Westwood campus.

Mason Foster, an incoming UCLA graduate student, began the protest by discussing why the protesters were assembling. She talked about the effectiveness of protests around the country.

“Yesterday, we had so many victories. Yesterday was the victory of moving Chauvin’s charges from third-degree to second-degree,” Mason said.

Mason’s speech was followed by her calling out their list of demands, which were separated into three parts: demands for the federal level, the city of Los Angeles and the University of California system.

Their federal demands — the arrest of all four officers involved in the George Floyd case and a second-degree murder charge for Chauvin — were met as of yesterday.

Their demands for the city of L.A. and the UC system include a lifting of all countywide curfews, the reopening of COVID-19 testing facilities and the development of a Black Resource Center at UCLA. The demands also called on all UC schools to divest from the University of California Police Department.

Before speakers delivered their remarks, demonstrators made signs and wrote a list of emergency contacts on their wrists to ensure their family members could be contacted if any disruptions occurred as they marched.

Protesters shouted “ No justice, no peace, fuck these racist police” as they marched about two miles north of the campus.

They stopped in front of Franz Hall Tower around 3:15 p.m. The organizers then allowed students to speak about police brutality.

JeiRonemo Thomas, a UCLA freshman, said Black students like him have seen police brutality their whole lives. He talked about how it has affected him.

“We aren’t supposed to be freedom fighters. It didn’t start that way, America made us this way. We watched as little kids in 2009 as Oscar Grant got killed by police and we were innocent but, we knew something was wrong,” Thomas said. “We were helplessly enraged in 2012 seeing George Zimmerman walk free for killing Trayvon Martin, who carried nothing but an Arizona and some damn Skittles… they hate us. They hate me we have to realize that”

After the crowd listened to student testimonies, they made their way back to Powell Library. Protesters chanted the names of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, three Black Americans whose killings fueled nationwide demonstrations against anti-Black racism and police brutality, until the protest’s conclusion at 4 p.m.