UCLA is a place that profoundly changed my life.
It was a place that helped develop some of America’s greatest civic leaders and organizers and a place that personally transformed how I view myself and the world.
A place where I got to test my own personal biases and had the safety net to make mistakes as I learned how to navigate a constantly changing world.
And a place with a long history of progressive students impacting change on campus, statewide, nationally and even globally.
It is in this context that I and hundreds of UCLA alumni started Bruins for Change, a nationwide network of former students committed to advocating for justice and social change inLos Angelesand beyond.
As alumni, like when we were students, we recognize and understand our responsibility to ensure that students today have the same ability and space to begin thinking critically about the world.
And as alumni, we recognize our growing influence and strength as we develop our personal passions and advance further in our professional careers.
While we are witnessing the blossoming of a new era inAmericawith the Occupy movement, we believe that universities, such as UCLA, must continue to provide a safe space for students to further develop their own political ideology and beliefs.
Expressing its solidarity with current UCLA students, Bruins for Change has drafted a letter asking Chancellor Block to drop all charges on the 14 students recently arrested for participating in Occupy UCLA events.
I share this letter with you in the hopes that all of us can continue to dialogue on the impact of the Occupy movement and together find ways that we can contribute to the improvement of our country.
I also share this letter so you, as people interested in improving our world, can play a more active role in ensuring that institutions, such as UCLA, continue to be open spaces for dialogue, dissent and free speech.