Local students speak out against racial inequality

SDS members  posing for a photo. Photo courtesy of SDS Facebook page

SDS members posing for a photo.
Photo courtesy of SDS Facebook page

By Danyelle Johnson

Outlook Writer

Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) bring awareness to problems affecting all minorities. The Florida State University Chapter is one of many chapters across the nation. Currently it’s about two dozen chapters across the U.S including, but not limited to Arizona, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Texas and Wisconsin.

The organization is actively trying to add chapters, including in high schools. Rutherford High school in Panama City has recently opened a chapter.

This group cares deeply about fighting discrimination and oppression for education rights, war, racism and sexism. They stand in solidarity with different struggles.

Participating in many actions, rallies and campaigns, SDS is all about democracy. The anti war, and anti racism group focus on women’s liberation, and shows strong activism about having a voice and standing up for what’s right. One of their platforms is to shed light on police brutality issues and generate solutions, fight against the anti divestment bill and rally against abortion.

Regina Joseph, a third year political science and sociology student at FSU was already invested in activism but saw even more opportunity through SDS.

“I joined SDS because we’re not funded by a non-profit. People don’t just give us money or tell us what to do. We do what we need to do and I like that because we’re so inclusive, when we have ideas or problems we actually voice them.”

She spoke on the importance of having a voice. If you don’t speak out, then the issues you care about will never be heard.

The organization has rallies to raise the consciousness of students on campus. To be effective activists, it is one’s duty to help people realize there is a problem and lead people to meetings so they can effectively discuss issues and solutions to them.

Nikkita Sims, a third-year marketing student at FSU expressed how the ongoing issues of police brutality sparked her interest in becoming a member of SDS.

“Racial inequality and injustice is too common and nothing is being done about it,” she said. I came out so I don’t fall into those habits of re-tweeting these issues versus actually being active and making a difference.”

No task is too much for SDS. Even if the task seems arduous, they have to keep struggling because liberation can never be won overnight.

“Even if it seems as if a mountain is in front of us, we have to believe that we can actually make a difference,” said Joseph.

Katherine Draken, a third year psychology student at FSU believes in actively fighting against all forms of injustice.

“I joined SDS because I was making a commitment to build a better world. The rallies and campaigns we have are to get the word out and make people aware of issues that are prevalent and educate people about the system and perpetuate racism.”

Aside from bringing awareness to the recent police brutality issues, the current focus of SDS is the Black education matters campaign. The main points are the exclusion of Black students from FSU, racist admissions and their plan to increase Black enrollment.

In the past 15 years, the Black enrollment at FSU has dropped 46 percent which sparked the plan to increase these numbers yet again.

The goal is to reinstate affirmative action programs, get rid of standardized testing policies and end legacy preferences, which allows students to be admitted into the university based off their familial relationship to an alumni of that institution.

“That is one of the many things we can do to fight against racism and white supremacy,” said Draken.

A New Members meeting is held every Friday at FSU in the student union room 320. For more information, visit Facebook.com/tallysds

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