Cameron Kennedy | The Poly Post

Bronco Young Democratic Socialists of America protests Lockheed Martin at Career Fair

By Cameron Kennedy, October 3, 2023

The Bronco Young Democratic Socialists of America were at the Fall Career Fair protesting the involvement of aerospace and military defense company Lockheed Martin.

The event and protest took place in the university quad from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 21 and 22 and was an attempt by the group to spread awareness to others of Lockheed Martin’s actions.

Bronco YDSA is a self-described socialist activist group of students, faculty and alumni who advocate for worker’s rights. It has been active in all facets of advocacy by standing with the California Faculty Association last semester, supporting the United Auto Workers protest in Ontario and most recently protesting Lockheed Martin at the Fall Career Fair.

According to Bronco YDSA’s pamphlet, the end goal is to ban Lockheed Martin from CPP career fairs, many members stated last week’s protest was to spread awareness to those who may be interested in Lockheed Martin of the many issues with the company.

One of the lead members of Bronco YDSA Marwah, who preferred to keep her last name private, is concerned about Lockheed Martin supplying weapons to countries with human rights violations.

Another one of the main reasons Bronco YDSA is trying to get Lockheed Martin off campus is to stop the recruitment process in an attempt to make a real change.

Cameron Kennedy | The Poly Post

As Marwah explained, a lot of people at Cal Poly Pomona are first generation and is exactly what Lockheed Martin is hoping for because the company “preys on first generation engineering students of color who are just looking for experience” and instead get tied into a “very unethical industry that affects people in their countries of origin.”

According to Polycentric, 57% of CPP students are first generation and an even larger percentage of engineering students are first generation as well.

Many students who attended the protest, such as Justin Bond, a business student felt Bronco YDSA achieved its goal of spreading awareness.

“I was initially interested in looking into jobs with Lockheed Martin, but I never knew about all the bad things they did,” said Bond.

He went on to say he is glad the club is doing what it’s doing because he feels more people should be aware of the company’s actions.

Moving forward, Bronco YDSA plans to provide ethical alternatives to Lockheed Martin for engineering students looking to find a career after graduation. Marwah said the club will try to find companies that provide clean energy, work on renewable energy sources and supply union jobs, so the workers can be proud and secure working for said company.

The hope for the future is a career fair with employers providing union jobs and places where workers will really be cared for. The overall message from Bronco YDSA on this front is the protest was not just a one-time thing but instead is a program constantly growing and working toward a goal.

When contacted for comment, a representative from Lockheed Martin who wished to remain anonymous acknowledged the intentions of Bronco YDSA but stated they do not have an official comment at this time.

In addition to the movement against Lockheed Martin, Bronco YDSA is also actively engaged in a number of other movements on campus. It is working on unionizing student workers on campus as well as working with other California State Universities on a campaign to stop the recently approved tuition hike. Also, Bronco YDSA plans to support the CFA in its fight for an increase in pay and other needs.

Feature image courtesy of Cameron Kennedy 

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