United Students Against Sweatshops interrupted the Homecoming parade

United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) interrupted last week’s Homecoming parade hoping to turn the spotlight to the hot issue of Turner Field which has sparked two more protests under President Mark Becker’s office earlier in the semester. The protesters came with banners in hand that read, “Becker make the right choice,” and “No CBA, No Way”.

Asma Elhuni, a member of USAS, said the objective of the demonstration was to put pressure on President Becker to sign the Community Benefits agreement (CBA), a document underlining mutually agreed upon goals for the development of Turner Field by the university and the stadium’s neighboring communities.

Hand in hand they dropped a banner reading, “Gentrification State University,” from the bridge connecting Library South and Classroom South. Without notice to the attendees of the parade, USAS members entered the line behind the Homecoming court with a sign that read “Gentrification State University.” The students responded to their protesters with “GSU” chants, raising their voices over the protesting yells as they weaved around the carts and infiltrated the band and police bikes.

By the time the parade had  reached Decatur St., the protesters were leading the march. However, as the parade entered Gilmer St., protesters were stopped by police and asked to go on the sidewalk, rather than in the middle of the street.

Patricio Rojas, USAS organizer, considered the protest a success and said it met their the goal of raising awareness of the issue to the university’s student body.

“I had fun being part of the parade and having people wave at us and check out our side. I think people are starting to know more and more about the situation and having more and more students become aware is the key,” Rojas said.

Georgia State student, Abyaan Dougsiyeh, said she had been misinformed on the Turner Field agreement, and approached the protesters to ask them about their cause.

“I thought they took care of the problem [the displacement of Turner Field residents] but really they didn’t. They’re practically evicting people out of their homes for no exact reason,” Dougsiyeh said.

As Georgia State students, USAS is fighting to protect the members of the community that surrounding the university, according to Sam Hogan, a member of the organization. Hogan said he believes it is their duty because of Georgia State’s proclaimed acceptance of all diversities.

“For a university that constantly counts its own diversity, we want it be be an institution that is for all of Atlanta,” said Hogan.

The organization departed once the parade was over, saying they were planning on more gatherings to raise awareness within the Georgia State community.