By Yvonne Condes
Arizona Daily Wildcat
About 600 students walked out of their classes and gathered on the Mall yesterday afternoon in a rally protesting affirmative action cuts in California.
"Affirmative action has allowed us to turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones," said Ida Wilber of the Black Law Students Association as the crowd burst into applause.
The rally, organized by Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A.), with help from African American Student Alliance and more than 15 other groups, began as organizers chanted "The people united will never be defeated," with crowd participation.
The University of Arizona is standing with schools like the University of California-Berkeley, Harvard, Northern Arizona and Arizona State Universities in the protest, said Reina Prado, graduate student in art history and M.E.Ch.A. member. She asked for a moment of silence to remember the people "who opened the gates to this university," she said.
Willy Lewis, of the Tucson Urban League and Tucson Civil Rights Coalition spoke about the importance of unity.
"When we come together like this we are not the minority, we are the majority," he said.
Eleven people spoke and two sang songs during the one-hour rally.
Ismael Parra sang in English and in Spanish and Roderick Rawlings sang a cappella. Rawlings, a mechanical engineering freshman, was not scheduled to perform, but "the spirit guides," he said.
In an emotional speech Gregory Redhouse, graduate student in American Indian studies, spoke about the history of the Native American people.
"This is my tribe right here. Just as the federal government attacked my people, this is the system attacking my tribe," he said of potential affirmative action cuts.
Assistant Dean of Hispanic student affairs Salomõn Baldenegro said in between speakers at the
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