At two dueling protests in downtown Athens on Monday, activists agitated for legalizing marijuana and for undocumented immigrants to be allowed to attend the University of Georgia.
Georgia CARE organized the pro-pot protest outside City Hall. Mayoral candidate Tim Denson (left) spoke briefly about his support for decriminalizing marijuana possession (a position Mayor Nancy Denson shares, though she has said she doesn't intend to push the issue).
Later, CARE protestors marched across Broad Street to the UGA campus, cutting straight through the second (and larger) protest of the day. Undocumented students rallied at the Arch for an end to the Board of Regents' policy banning them from attending UGA and other competitive-admission state universities.
"They say I can go to another school," one speaker said. "So what? I worked my butt off to get [into] UGA."
Diana, a 16-year-old Cedar Shoals High School student, said she has a 3.9 grade point average but can't attend UGA because her parents brought her to the U.S. from El Salvador illegally at age 4.
"All my hard work doesn't count for anything because I don't have that nine-digit [Social Security] number," she said.
Protesters then marched to the Administration Building, where they demanded an audience with President Jere Morehead to ask him to make a statement in favor of repealing the ban.
"These students could attend any university, but we are here giving [administrators] a chance to redeem yourselves," said one student named Eduardo. "Now is the time to lift the ban."