TORONTO, ON- JULY 27 - Uranranebi Agbeyegbe screams into a microphone during a Black Lives Matter protest that marched from Gilbert Avenue to Allen Road on Eglinton Avenue. The protest shut down the southbound Allen Road for around 30 minutes, causing traffic to reverse and exit through Lawrence Avenue.        (Melissa Renwick/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

There is a massive student protest movement erupting across the country, perhaps one which the nation has not witnessed since the anti-apartheid activism of the 1980s, much less the Black Power and antiwar campus demonstrations of the 1960s.

Just two days after thousands of fast-food workers hit the streets across the nation to demand a $15-an-hour wage and union rights for that sector, college students across the U.S. marched at over 120 campuses in at least 100 cities for the cause of free tuition for public college and the cancellation of student loan debt.

As Reuters reported, the protests were called the #MillionStudentMarch, and was trending on Twitter. To understand the scope of the issue, student loan debt has become a major national problem addressed by a number of presidential candidates, as total U.S. student loan debt has doubled to $1.2 trillion, according to the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

With an anemic economy and job market, student loan debt can cost an individual hundreds of thousands of dollars, amounting to a mortgage and forcing some young Americans to forego or postpone purchasing a house and starting a family. While public colleges often were free in decades past, providing an accessible education to working class students and students of color, these days some students are forced to postpone or cancel their studies due to the exorbitant tuition fees and expenses.

In an example of how the #MillionStudentMarch and #BlackLivesMatter movements are gaining strength from each other, student debt protesters broadened their message to show solidarity with the University of Missouri students who are fighting against racial injustice on their campus, and a climate of racial hostility and terrorism.  Students in the Boston area convened on Northeastern University, where they held signs reading “Degrees not receipts” and “Is this a school or a corporation?” Protesting students in New York also marched for higher pay for campus workers, and railed against the militarization of campus security.

“Education is a right, not just for the rich and white,” protesters chanted at Hunter College in New York, as reported by Newsweek.

“As youth from working class communities, we witness the attacks the ruling class wages against our people,” the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee at the City University of New York said in a statement. “Our educational opportunities are being squashed… because the university does not work to serve our communities but instead invests in private prisons, militarizes our campuses and locks most of us out of education by raising tuition and cutting programs that benefit working class students.”


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Source: #MillionStudentMarch Meets #BlackLivesMatter: Students Across the Nation Protest Against College Debt, Campus Racism – Atlanta Blackstar

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