The police brutality against students at UC Davis last week has triggered an international outpouring of disgust and anger toward the campus authorities.
Hopefully, what happened on the campus Saturday will be seen just as widely, as an inspiring example of the power of the most creative kind of non-violent power.
So what happened?
UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi called a press conference to respond to the calls for her resignation. Somewhere around a thousand students gathered outside the building demanding that their voice be heard as well. This was already amazing: that many students gathering on very short notice to support free speech is something that the Davis campus had never seen. But what followed was awe-inspiring.
Chancellor Katehi refused to leave the building, attempting to give the media the impression that the students were somehow holding her hostage. The students responded by chanting "we are peaceful" and "just walk home," but the chancellor remained inside for several hours, apparently afraid of the students at the university she nominally leads.
Here is the video of what happened next. The young man who is speaking is one of the students who was chemically assaulted:
There is very little to add to that video. The students' silence speaks far louder than any chanting ever could. It is one of the most powerful examples of the power of non-violent protest I know of.
It is so clear that, in the absence of any leadership from the university administration, it is the students who are doing the leading. With their cumbersome consensus decision-making, their "human mic," their amorphous organization and distrust of leaders, they are the unquestioned leaders of their school.
Currently, the YouTube video of their extraordinary action has just over 20,000 hits. The videos of the police brutality have over two million. Let's change that. Please forward links to this beautiful video far and wide. Let's make UC Davis not only a symbol of police brutality, but also of student creativity and leadership.
Thanks to the excellent blog of Lee Fang, who has been thoughtfully covering this events.
And if you want to keep up to date on the extraordinary events at Davis, the best way is probably through the students' own "Aggie TV."