Guest post from Patrick Ahrens, a fourth-year UCLA student, who attended Jerry’s rally with Bill Clinton last Friday.
Most classes at UCLA are not offered on a Friday, but an unusually large amount of students gathered around the front of the iconic Royce Hall anyway. Armed with clipboards, voter registration cards, and a profound sense of service, they spread throughout campus to mobilize their peers for the upcoming election.
News of the California Democratic Party offering a special rally with President Clinton and Democratic candidates Jerry Brown and Gavin Newsom has been the talk of UCLA all month. Despite the overcast weather, a sense of electricity hung in the air as lines to enter the event quickly sprawled around campus buildings.
Not only the droves of UCLA students attended, but thousands from the greater Los Angeles area came together to witness the great trifecta of this election cycle. All three politicians speaking on the importance of investing in higher education, especially in times of economic hardships.
Many students from our club, The Bruin Democrats, decided to show up and urge Jerry to be a champion for the DREAM Act. To our excitement, in front of thousands of supporters, he delivered a firm commitment in his speech. “Whether they are documented or not. If they went to school, they ought to be here,” Jerry said as we looked on and cheered in raucous excitement.
The rally was an astounding and irreplaceable moment for many UCLA students. We will never forget the night, from the more than 80 volunteers registering voters beforehand to the waves of supporters beaming in anticipation of seeing the next Governor of California. The crowd was so espoused by the thought of all three politicians on stage that by the time Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa gave his introduction, they could not stop chanting.
As Jerry said during his speech that night, “It’s about the people.” The event would not have been a success without the help of all the dedicated supporters rallying behind him.