Day 7: Students and Supporters Take their Protest Inside the Rotunda
Today was an exciting and energizing day for the Living Wage Hunger Strikers and their supporters. Media attention toward the strike has been building: check out the coverage in the Washington Post, the Nation, the National Catholic Reporter, MichaelMoore.com, and the Huffington Post.
Today’s mid-day rally brought together UVa workers, strikers, parents, alumni, and more, speaking out together for change. Dr. Greg Gelburd, the advising physician of the hunger strikers, spoke about the strikers’ commitment to the justice of their cause, despite their deteriorating physical condition. Jill Stein, presidential candidate for the Green Party, flew in from out of state to encourage the strikers. In her speech, she reminded them that they are not alone in their fight, but rather are joining a great tradition of fighting against injustice.
The rally culminated in a march to the Rotunda. Striker Carl David Goette Luciak announced to the crowd on the steps of the Rotunda that the community supporters and wagers had written a letter to deliver to the Board of Visitors, who were meeting inside at that moment. He invited anyone who wanted to come to march right into the Rotunda. The whole group of marchers – more than 100 strong – stormed into the Rotunda lobby. The crowd kept pushing against the demands of administrators and striker Hunter Link was finally able to take the letter up to the meeting, but he was not allowed to enter the meeting or to speak to the Board. The representatives of the campaign were given a letter authored by VP Patricia Lampkin that made no mention of employees’ compensation. To see Wagers/Strikers/Supporters inside the the Rotunda, check out our video on Youtube!
Meanwhile, the number of strikers continues to swell. During the rally, Angelie Mendoza announced that she has joined the strike as the new 18th striker, replacing striker Brianne Pitts who was forced to drop out Thursday due to illness. Two new strikers joined after the rally, bringing the total number of students fasting for a Living Wage to 20.
President Teresa Sullivan still has not responded to requests that she move up her meeting with the Living Wage campaign, which is currently scheduled for 7 a.m. on Monday, February 27. This means that the strikers will continue to go hungry over the weekend.
Written by Wager, Dannah Dennis