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CalArts Students Prepare to Walk Out During #J20 Strike

Students at one of the country’s leading art schools have organized a walkout to coincide with Inauguration Day.

(image courtesy Ana Cecilia Alvarez, Beth Fiedorek, and Alexandra Leon)

Editor’s note: An earlier protest image indicated that the walkout was originally slated for noon and has since been moved to 10am PST. The post has been updated to reflect that change.

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In solidarity with the nationwide #J20 movement, students at CalArts in Southern California are organizing a walkout “against the president of Donald J. Trump on inauguration day, January 20,” in their words.

Organized by students Ana Cecilia Alvarez, Beth Fiedorek, and Alexandra Leon, the event is slated to take place at noon 10am local time. The official flyer includes the #J20 Art Strike statement that was released last week. CalArts is considered one of the leading art schools in the country, if not the world.

The CalArts walkout poster in the halls of the school (image courtesy the organizers)

Hyperallergic reached out to the organizers to understand their motivation for the action. “Organizing around J20 at CalArts was catalyzed by that particular reaction that occurs to political angst when it meets a vacuum,” Fiedorek and Leon told Hyperallergic. “The response has been generally favorable, though half-mast, partially because we’re in winter interim and it limits numbers. The institution itself has been unofficially supportive — there’s a shared sentiment of solidarity with the idea of the strike, and a concurrent (sanctioned) teach-in on January 18. Protest movements have an important social and emotional function, and if they keep happening, they often succeed politically.  CalArts’ immediate geopolitical location is pretty isolating; much of the region surrounding campus has a conservative bent. The way we are thinking of the strike now is as a hub to move the protest outwards, away from the art institution into a greater collective engagement, with the potential to bridge the insularity of the art institution.”

The flyer circulating for the action includes the following explanation for the CalArts walkout:

As members of not only a ratified art community, but as citizens and workers and subjects, it is important that we unite visibly in rejecting the bigotry, oppression, and divisionary tactics of Trump’s agendas and operatives. We must continue to protest corporate policies aimed at gutting social services and education. It’s clear that we cannot rely on the political establishment or business-as-usual politicians to fight Trump. It’s on us to provide the pressure. That’s why students and cultural workers around the country are walking out of class on January 20th, Trump’s inauguration day, to demand with one united voice:
– No deportations of undocumented immigrants!
NO to the wall!
– Black Lives Matter! End police brutality and mass incarceration!
– Unite against Islamophobia!No Muslim registry! Fight against Muslim-directed hate crimes!
– Fight discrimination and violence against the LGBTQ community!
– Fight Trump’s sexism! Defend reproductive rights access for all!
– Continue resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline! Defend indigenous sovereignty!
-Protect our environment!Resist ecological warfare! Demand accountability and science-based environmental policy!
-Fight against political and corporate despotism at home and abroad! Let’s see those taxes!
-Resist Trump’s takeover of a free media! Fight right-wing normalization media strategy!Fight Breitbart! Fight for free speech, transparency and reason!
-PROTECT THE VULNERABLE.RAISE UP THE OPPRESSED. CONTINUED RESISTANCE TO TRUMP FOR LENGTH OF HIS PRESIDENCY. YOUR PARTICIPATION IS NECESSARY-

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