MLK Action Day: #FreeCollegeforAll!

On MLK Day, students from across all of Washington joined together to advocate for Cost-Free College including wrap-around services and advising programs as well as professional licensure for all Washington immigrants. With over 120 attendees, students, faculty and community gathered, participated in a rally, and led the conversations with their local representatives and senators. There was a collective feeling of empowerment among participants, as they came together to advocate for Cost-Free College and professional licensure.

During our Free College rally, Yakima Valley College student leader Angelita shared her personal story, emphasizing the transformative impact that Cost-Free College would have on her life by removing financial barriers to higher education. Having large financial barriers allows for racial injustice to thrive. Senator T’wina Nobles spoke at the rally sharing her own experience with community college and continues to show her support as we work towards Cost-Free College. Tracy Lai, a faculty member at Seattle Central College and member of the American Federation of Teachers, Washington, spoke about the importance of investing in higher education, including pay equity for adjunct faculty. A Shoreline Community College alumni and current University of Washington student, Min Young Sung spoke passionately about the barriers undocumented students face in professional licensure. 

“The pursuit of education is ultimately essential to freedom, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. As the eldest daughter of an undocu Asian immigrant family and a first gen university student, I recognize this truth in its entirety. While Washington has resources that help reduce college costs, many of these still aren’t accessible for a lot of students. Higher education grants individuals opportunities to better their economic standings, and should be a human right.” -Min

Communities for Our Colleges empowers students to lead the conversations with elected officials. We had a total of 32 meetings with elected officials and legislative staff. Students had time to raise their concerns and tell their stories, allowing representatives to hear the people that this would affect most. Elected officials were generally supportive, and the impact of the collective presence was palpable. Notably, we even had a representative sign on to co-sponsor the free college bills during the meeting with students.

“It was reenergizing to support and empower students to lobby for cost free college and professional licensures for everyone. A highlight of my experience was reminding the WA legislators that we elected them, they serve us, and we will hold them accountable!” – Jocelyn, Policy and Research Associate with the Equity in Education Coalition

C4C’s lobby day demonstrated a strong and unified voice advocating for accessible education and professional opportunities, leaving a lasting impact on elected officials and contributing to positive legislative developments.