UCSB activists and queer rights advocates from across the state are en route to San Francisco today as part of a unified movement to overturn Proposition 8.
When the California Supreme Court begins hearing arguments to overturn the constitutional ban on gay marriage tomorrow, a student-led delegation from UCSB will be rallying outside the courthouse. The protest – organized in part by fourth-year film studies major Urviashi Nagrani – calls on more than 100,000 students and activists to occupy San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza.
In anticipation of the hearing, Nagrani and fellow event organizer Brian Nguyen will lead a march tonight from Castro Street to Mission Street, culminating in a candlelight vigil at the Civic Center. Organizers have also secured camping permits, allowing activists to stake out at the doors of the courthouse overnight.
In addition, Nagrani and Nguyen collected donations and have arranged to have a gigantic television screen stationed outside the courthouse to ensure that activists outside can witness the proceedings taking place inside the courtroom.
Nguyen, a fourth-year English major, said the student activism on behalf of gay rights reflects UCSB’s larger reform agenda.
“I think the students here are really wonderful activists,” Nguyen said. “We’ve done a lot of amazing things – not just for Prop 8, but for a multitude of things like student fees and worker’s rights. It’s just more proof that youth activism can do a lot.”
Nguyen said he was eager to join the ranks of those fighting against “legalized discrimination.”
“I’ve been to San Francisco a few times now,” Nguyen said. “But I’m really excited to be amongst thousands of queers and allies and people who realize Prop 8 is constitutionalized hate.”
According to Nguyen, the rally will showcase UCSB’s commitment to gay rights.
“I think it’ll be a real big statement that we are from Southern California and we made such a long trek to this event,” Nguyen said. “It’ll be more meaningful because we did our best to be there.”
Nagrani said her desire to be more proactive in the fight for justice and equality led her to organize the protest. She said students must take action to experience the change they desire.
“The thing which is most important about this rally is that students need to remember that if things aren’t happening that they wanted to see, they need to step up,” Nagrani said. “Others will follow, and that’s encouraging to see.”