A group of Pierce College students has started a campaign to raise money to aid Pierce students and their families who were victims of the recent riots in Los Angeles.
Led by history major Terry Kindermann, the group almost immediately found five students whose families were affected by the violence that followed the not-guilty verdicts in the Rodney King beating trial.
"This has nothing to do with the verdict," Kindermann said. "This is not a political statement. We just want to help. We weren't downtown, so we couldn't help shovel or sweep the streets.
"I'm just a student at Pierce who happened to know someone who was affected by the riots and wanted to help them and ended up helping other students as well."
Kindermann, with the help of other students, circulated 750 letters to administrators, faculty and staff asking for donations and information on students who were directly affected by the rioting and looting.
"I wanted everybody to be aware of what we were trying to do," Kindermann said.
A total of $540 was raised within four days. The fund-raising drive continued through the end of last week.
Kindermann became involved after talking to a woman in her class whose family's business was burned down during the rioting. They had no insurance.
"Her parents lost their livelihood, their income. Their immediate problem was getting money to pay the phone bills and buy gas," Kindermann said.
Another Pierce student, a single parent, lost her job as a result of the riots.
"Being a single parent and a student is hard enough in itself, but now she's lost her income," Kindermann said.
"Pierce, as a community, tried to do its little bit. If everybody tried to do a little bit, that would help a lot."
"It's certainly a grass-roots effort," said Judith Ponsor, Associated Students Organization adviser. "The students here are helping the other students."
Kindermann's project was authorized by the Student Services Office and an account was opened in the business office.
The money collected will be divided equally among the students who have been verified as being legitimately enrolled at Pierce, according to Ponsor.
Alpha Gamma Sigma, the Pierce honor society, the Indo-Pac Club and Hillel at Pierce donated homemade goods for a bake sale that raised $240. The society "passed the hat" at its weekly meeting and raised another $52.44 for the fund.
The United African-American Students Assn. "was very supportive and helped spread the word around," Kindermann said.
Students involved in the fund-raising set up a booth in front of the campus library to collect contributions.