May 9th was the Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach. My name had been submitted for the public comment portion of the meeting and I was ready to speak! It was day 8 of the hunger strike and I was getting pretty tired.
Up to that point, I had been seriously considering what is was that I was going to say to the Board of Trustees. After all, it isn't every day that a lady from CSUSB gets the opportunity to speak to the all mighty BOT. I put all of the little energy that I had into carefully crafting a quick 2 min speech that I felt would express my concerns.
The time came and I heard my name called in the que of speakers. I saw the list with my own two eyes. Yup, my name was on there twice. I had submitted my own name with the intention of speaking not knowing others had submitted by name in the event I had the strength to speak. This meant that I could defer my second slot to speak to a different hunger striker. My name was called and I stepped up to the plate. "My name us Natalie Dorado and I am on the list of speakers twice. I will defer my second chance to speak to David Inga and I will speak after him."
Boom! There goes David and hit them with the truth gun. He ask the BOT who can think for themselves to do so and stand up for what they believe in calling on specific BOT members who have voted against student fee increases in the past. Bam! It was a success.
Now it is my turn to speak. My hands began to shake as I began to address the board. Then my mic gets cut. Chair Lindshield speaks to say that I do not get a turn to speak since I already deferred one of my turns! I insist, "My name was on the list to speak twice and I did not get the chance to speak." Mic still off...
Chair Lindshield insists that I do not get to address the board and begins to call the next speakers. But I do not leave the mic. I will not leave until I get my chance to speak. I insist, "If you please just give me a moment of your time..."
The people seated in the public portion of the board meeting begin to chant "Let her speak, Let her speak!" and tensions begin to rise in the board room. I do not leave the mic. I again insist, "Please just give me one moment..."
It begins to get awkward and tense in the room. I remain standing at the mic as Chair Lindshield tells me I can not speak. The security guard tells me, "You need to sit down now", but I do not go. I will not leave until I get my chance to speak, I have done nothing wrong. Were they really that afraid to hear what I had to say?
Then I hear some people saying, "You need to speak up!" I see my fellow SQE members and members of the public telling CSUSB President Karnig that he needs to speak up. I quietly hear him say, "She can speak".
And then it happens! President Karnig reached forward despite some internal struggle that was clear on his face and turned on his mic and said loud and clear, "She can speak. Her name was on the list twice. Let her speak."
Chancellor Reed leaned towards Chair Lindshield and told him to cut President Karnig's mic. Lindshield reached forward and turns on my mic. And I began to speak...