On October 26th 2017, our YAL chapter at Los Angeles Pierce College hosted a very successful meeting which was much different that regular ones. This time, we had an important issue to talk about: Privacy.
We are all aware that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,” because as citizens, we have right to our privacy and it is protected under the constitution. It still begs the question; how much are we willing to give up our privacy for “security”?
Last week, we signed up students during Day of Politics by passing the political spectrum quiz -which is included in our activism kit- and also, by dressing up, passing flyers and attracting students to our table. We sent texts and emails to around 200 students and faculty. Before the meeting, we set up the room by decorating the walls and board with YAL posters #RestoreThe4th banner. We had our powerpoint presentation prepared as well, already displaying on the screen as students come in. We sign them in as they enter the room and give them the webcam stickers and YAL flyers.
Pierce College Vice President, Michael Sabuncu, started the presentation. He gave an amazing speech about the importance of the 4th amendment. During the presentation, students started asking questions and the discussion began. The Free Speech Coordinator of our club, Lauren Dziedzic, made sure everyone got a chance to express their opinions. Everyone had a different idea and experience and we all shared some stories about how governments should or should not survey the citizens. One of our wonderful member, Mathew Brody, made a very interesting point: “In this country, nobody is guilty unless proven. But, when the government is surveilling an individual, the premise is that they are guilty which doesn’t relates with the construction of our justice system.”
No everyone agreed that the government is trespassing the privacy lines. The President of the Political Science Society at Pierce College who attended our meeting believed that the government is not evil and this is for a greater good. As the discussion got more heated, more students who did not talk before started engaging and challenged each other. I could also share my own story and how we dealt with Intelligence Agencies in other countries.
At the end, we all put stars on the #RestoreThe4th chart. It was amazing to have people from different parts of the political spectrum speaking about this topic. We made many new friends and we also got media attention. I recommend all the chapters to do this activism on their campus and host the meeting because it is a very interesting topic that not many people know about it.