Legislators, educators and students put down their books and picked up their picket signs on March 4 to defend public education in the state of California. On the steps of the Capitol, they poured out to make their message heard. At UC Santa Cruz, persistent protesters woke up at 5 a.m. and blocked both campus entrances, shutting down the university for the entire day. Dining halls were disrupted, classes canceled and buses diverted. But the driving message behind the demonstrations was about openness. As they fought for access, affordability and quality, they hoped to achieve a better learning environment for students across the state.