Long Beach Marches for Science

24 Apr

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Hundreds of people, many of them—teachers, scientists and students—marched on the sidewalk on Saturday, April 22, north on Atlantic from San Antonio Drive to Houghton Park in Long Beach, which was part of the marches worldwide, nationally and in California, which was self-identified as the March for Science.

The Facebook page for the Long Beach event said, “We are people who value science: scientists, educators, journalists, students, neighbors, friends, and family. We come from all races, all religions, all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all abilities, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all political perspectives, and all nationalities…What unites us is a love of science, and an insatiable curiosity. We all recognize that science is everywhere and affects everyone.”

According to the Facebook page for the national event, marches were in more than 600 cities nationally and in more than 40 cities across California.

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Long Beach Unified School District Board Member Megan Kerr speaking at March for Science Rally, on April 22, in Long Beach, California; Photo by Barry Saks

An organizer of the march was Megan Kerr, who is a member of Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education.  Kerr estimated just as the march began at about 400 people.

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Elaine Villanueva holding a sign before speaking on April 22, at the rally before the March for Science in Long Beach; Photo by Barry Saks

Kerr introduced Elaine Villanueva Bernal, who teaches organic chemistry at Cal State University Long Beach.  Bernal said, “Today I march because chemistry is an essential science that allows us to connect to the world around us and to each other.  It is one, of the many scientific disciplines, that enables us to see that climate change is real and chemistry empowers us to advocate for cleaner air and cleaner water.”

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Lisa Martin-Hansen speaking April 22 at rally before the March for Science in Long Beach, California; Photo by Barry Saks

Next to speak was Lisa Martin-Hansen, who also teaches at CSULB.  Martin-Hansen said she was speaking officially for the Association for Science Teacher Education and the National Science Teachers Association.  She said, “When the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) tells scientists not to share data with the public, science was silenced.  When the NIH (National Institute of Health) budget is cut, it affects research that directly relates to our wellbeing.  When funding for satellites to gather climate data is no longer provided, that holds back our progress.”

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Chris Lowe speaking at March for Science rally before marching on April 22 in Long Beach, California; Photo by Barry Saks

The last CSULB educator to speak was Chris Lowe, who is the Director of the Shark Lab.   Lowe said, “I’m here today to march for the ocean.  So, we have made great strides improving our ocean health.  In fact, sharks have come back….Marine mammals have come back…. and, of course, our oceans are getting cleaner…. As someone who is training the next generation…we need to be here today and we need to show that we care about science.”

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Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia on April 22 speaking at rally for March for Science; Photo by Barry Saks 

The last to speak before the march was Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.  The Mayor said he wanted to thank the women because they were the ones who organized the march.

One chant was “more science less silence.”  Another was “science is discovery.”

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In the parking lot of Teachers Association of Long Beach, on April 22, before the March for Science; Photo by Barry Saks

Before the march, just south of Atlantic, the Teachers Association of Long Bead hosted in the union parking lot, tables, where signs could to made before walking a couple of blocks north, where the march was to begin.

Before the march, one person who took the local bus to San Antonio and Atlantic and then walked south to the TALB parking lot was Domenica Coronel.  Coronel, who is 35 and a Licensed Vocational Nurse, said science is fundamental because “It’s in everything, it’s in medicine, it’s in technology.”  Coronel said this was not her first march and she had been at the Women’s March in Los Angeles.  She said people had to wake up, we need to hold our government account and ended that the future scares her.

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Friends, Nancy Patterson and Anne Wright, on April 22, in the Teachers Association of Long Beach parking lot before the March for Science; Photo by Barry Saks 

Another marcher in the TALB parking lot was Anne Wright, 51, who said she is an unemployed secretary and lives in Long Beach.  Wright said she was scared of Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, wanting to make public education heavily involved with fundamentalist Christianity.  With Wright was her longtime friend, Nancy Patterson, 52, who said she is a social worker.  She said she lives in the city Orange and drove over in her hybrid car.  Patterson said she doesn’t usually go to demonstrations, but she thought this one was important enough for her to be at.  Patterson said she was partly influenced as a child by the television program, Cosmos, with Carl Sagen, and now reads Scientific American.

Another person in the TALB parking lot was Nrapendra Prasad, 72.  Prasad, who lives in Newport Beach, said he is a scientist.  Prasad, who said he became a U.S. citizen for at least 45 years, said he has a Doctor’s degree in entomology, however, now he is a photographer.  He said, “We have one planet and we need to save this planet…People don’t realize that we have clean air, clean water and clean cars.  It’s all because of science.  It’s not because some religious propaganda.”  He said he’s not political but this last election changed his mind that he had to come out.

Barry Saks has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Cal State College at Long Beach, now CSULB.

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