National Guard Out! Demilitarize Westwood and Protect Students

To Governor Newsom and Mayor Garcetti,

Bruins are scared. The recent deployment of the National Guard to Los Angeles is a disturbing escalation of militarized police presence in a city that is pained by the legacies of police violence disproportionately affecting Black communities. Students are highly concerned by reports of regular National Guard patrols in Westwood around UCLA’s campus. History shows us that the National Guard does not protect student lives — it threatens them, especially the lives of Black students.

UCLA students are therefore requesting the immediate withdrawal of National Guard troops from Westwood.

On May 4, 1970, the presence of the National Guard at an anti-war protest at Kent State University led to the shooting of 13 unarmed students, and the killing of four. The following day at UCLA, 20 student demonstrators engaging in a peaceful solidarity protest were injured when 230 Los Angeles Police Department officers clashed with over one thousand student protestors. This followed the death of a student protester at UC Santa Barbara shot by police and National Guard forces.

The presence of troops in our college town is also exacerbating the fears of students accessing food security resources fundamental to their health and wellbeing. Curfews in place in Westwood have closed dining halls early, barring students from eating meals. Students fear leaving their apartments to buy groceries or meals with military presence in Westwood. This is worsening the existing basic needs crisis faced by UC students, already worsened by Covid-19.

California and Los Angeles have the opportunity to set an example to the nation in a moment of deep pain. That example should not be one of falling back into old patterns of “law and order” thinking that disproportionately impacts Black communities. Withdraw the National Guard from Westwood immediately.

We cannot place a bet on student lives. Ever. Especially for Black students, who are most at risk. We encourage you all to additionally support the organizing asks of the Afrikan Student Union now and always.

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