The takeaway from the morning of Saturday, Dec. 15, was this: Don’t mess with our teachers! While there are 32,000 public school teachers in the Los Angeles public school system, more like 50,000 people showed up at City Hall to support teachers' demands at the UTLA March for Public Education.
Assembling at Grand Park, and rallying on the steps of City Hall and cascading throughout Grand Park, UTLA billed the event as “a big demonstration of our power,” and it certainly was. Currently in the midst of a fraught bargaining process with LAUSD, the march was intended as a final warning that the teachers are ready and willing to go on strike if it comes to that — which it increasingly seems it might.
Visual art created in a massive art build last weekend was used to amplify the demonstrators’ messages. UTLA partnered with Self Help Graphics, the Social and Public Arts Resource Center (SPARC) and several Los Angeles–based artists, including Ernesto Yerena, Nisha Sembi, Aise Born, Erin Yoshi and Angelica Becerra, to develop the images to be used in the march and possible strike.
“The community stands with educators because they know we stand with them,” UTLA/NEA vice president Cecily Myart-Cruz said. The art, she wrote, represented “all of us joining together to create beautiful protest art that celebrates our love of public schools and our commitment to fighting together for a better day for our students. When we march on Dec. 15, we will carry the heart of the community with us in these art pieces.”