A Message of Justice

El Vaquero Staff Writer

As the sun set behind the Verdugo Mountains on Saturday, Tony Quach’s fingers traced a dizzying pattern of movement across his turntables as he spun grooves that echoed against the college’s concrete facades.

Tables used by students throughout the week to grab a quick bite of lunch were instead covered in red tablecloths. One lit candle placed on top of each table gave the bookstore patio a rarely seen peaceful and serene atmosphere.

People stopped at times to look at art displayed against a cafeteria wall in a sort of mini-gallery and stopped to chat with friends in between bites of tortilla chips, sandwiches and soda.

Glendale Community College’s Justice Coalition was responsible for these changes made to the bookstore patio where it hosted its first benefit concert, “The Spoken Word.” The spoken word being the freedom to express one’s thoughts and feelings through whatever medium best conveys those thoughts – whether through art, music or poetry.

Poets, artists and musicians performed a variety of original pieces about issues ranging from war and discrimination to issues closer to home, such as the poor quality of GCC’s parking (as heard in Jason Hardwick’s original piece “Parking”) and being out of work (Hardwick’s “Anthem to an Out of Work White Guy”).

Funds from the event went to benefit Oxfam, an organization established in 1942 during World War II to assist those suffering from famine. Today, it is an organization working in more than 100 countries to provide a “lasting solution to poverty, suffering and injustice,” according to its Web site www.oxfam.org.

The GCC Justice Coalition is a new organization based on the collaborative efforts of People Against War, the Association of Latin American Students, United Womyn’s Council and the Asia Pacific Islander Movement.

According to Womyn’s Council member Niki Davis, the coalition was organized before the start of war in Iraq to promote justice. Most of the anti-war movements held on campus in the days preceding the war were organized by the coalition. Davis said that the work continued after the war against Iraq began.

The coalition focused on a number of aspects of justice regarding the Iraq war. The Womyn’s Council, for example, focused on how the war affected women.

Davis said she does not wish for the coalition to be viewed as an anti-war organization per se but, rather a group devoted to supporting justice on all levels.

Saturday’s fund-raiser garnered $521, half of which will go to support a new $250 scholarship established to benefit incoming GCC students.
“We’re trying to reach out to the average student,” said Asia Pacific Islander Movement member and GCC student Paolo Espiritu.

“This is really amazing,” said PAW member Melina Simonds.