Holding large, bright signs that read "CUTS HURT KIDS," a crowd of more than 100 parents, students, administrators, citizens from young to old, and even congressional candidate pulsed to the beat of two drum circle drummers on the sidewalk of Pacific Coast Highway in front of on Tuesday, all the while encouraging passing vehicles to "honk for education."
"Shock and awe is a good thing—at least it let's people see we're unified," said Superintendent Dr. Steven Keller of the fair-sized, energetic turnout.
The demonstration, which was organized by the California Teacher's Association, was meant to highlight the statewide budget crisis—a $25 billion deficit. Lawmakers have already cut $12 billion from the budget, reducing the deficit. Educators at the rally said legislators must extend the temporary tax hikes to ensure the level of education in both public schools and universities doesn't drop.
Along with the "CUTS HURT KIDS" signs, there were also signs saying California is in a "State of Emergency" and a smattering of handwritten signs—one encouraging "Keep the Taxes: Save Schools/CA Universities!!!"
The owner of the latter sign, Redondo Beach resident Delia Vechi had sentimental words to explain her participation in the pro-education rally.
"This coming school year my grandson will start kindergarten," said Vechi. But that wasn't the only reason for this protestor to participate in the rally—she had the distant future in her sights while thinking about the present.
"We need to fight to save the university," she added, speaking highly of the accomplishments of past graduates of the California public university system—and hoping that the caliber could remain just as high at California universities in the future.
Protestors saw the tax extension as a necessity, and some had tough words for the gridlock in Sacramento.
"Kids first—politics second," said Keller. "Adults need to play ball in Sacramento—they need to be adults. Sit down, be civil, cut a deal, and put kids first."
"[They should] put their ego away, and do what's right for kids," he added.
Redondo Union alumni board member and local drum-circle drummer Augustin Garnier, a resident of Redondo Beach since 1967, was also adamant about the future of local children being an acceptable reason for extending the tax hikes.
"My ties here are so tight, I actually just walked here from where I live," said Garnier. "I also understand these types of rallies are going on across the state, the least I could do is show up with my drum. I do community drum circles anyway, so I felt this was a more effective way for my body to get down here and support the kids."
"These kids are going to be in charge of us one day—this is not the time to be cutting them off," he said.
"I don't even have children, and I'm down here to be taxed for these kids," said Garnier. "Many of these kids, I'm considered their uncle. Cuts to education have already been horrendous. No more cuts to education, no more cuts to first responders—that's just the way it has to be."
At the Board of Education meeting later Tuesday night, Vice President of the Redondo Beach Teachers Association Monica Joyce said she was heartened by the turnout at the rally.
"It was very inspiring to have all the members of RBUSD, from young kids to some of us old kids, out there," said Joyce, who teaches at . "I know as a classroom teacher each day that those cuts don't affect the way that I teach … but we can't take them anymore."