The beauty of being arrested

The importance of taking a stand against budget injustice

Ms. Sun is a special-education teacher who also serves as volunteer coordinator at the Chico Peace and Justice Center. She lives in Chico.

On Aug. 18, I was arrested at the State Capitol in Sacramento while protesting the governor’s “cuts-only” budget. I have never been arrested for civil disobedience before, but the governor’s proposed drastic cuts to health and human services target our most vulnerable citizens—the elderly, disabled and children—and that propelled me to take drastic action.

The thought of being arrested and jailed terrified me, but the thought of doing nothing terrified me more.

Fortunately, I was not alone in my conviction and stood in solidarity with nearly 300 other people to protest the cuts, including 22 (dis)abled-bodied persons along with three other Butte County residents, also willing to be arrested.

My experience of being arrested for civil disobedience, along with voting, was one of the most democratic and truly “American” actions I have participated in. To boldly stand up against our state government in the name of budget injustices, risking arrest and jail time, is indeed patriotic. As a mother, it is my duty to be an example of democracy in action for my son.

The governor’s “cuts-only” budget isn’t some vague legislation that won’t affect people in Chico. When 3,310 elderly and disabled people in Butte County lose their In-Home Supportive Services, 9,170 Butte County children and their families are affected by the elimination of CalWORKs and Healthy Families, and 8,300 elderly and disabled Butte County recipients of SSI/SSP face reduction of services, the entire community feels the pain.

These cuts to vital services aren’t isolated from our local economy; nor are they partisan. A cuts-only budget is fiscally irresponsible in the short and long terms. With less money being spent locally, stores will be forced out of business, causing unemployment and home foreclosures to increase. A cuts-only budget is bad for local business, and Butte County residents can’t afford these cuts to our economy.

The inconvenience of rallying, marching and being arrested does not even begin to compare to the massive “inconveniences” thousands of Butte County residents will experience if a cuts-only budget passes.

When our state legislators will not protect the needs of our most vulnerable citizens, then “we the people” must. I encourage all Butte County residents to write/call Assemblyman Dan Logue and tell him a “cuts-only” budget is fiscally irresponsible and to participate in local actions and at the state Capitol.