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Q&A with UNF Students for a Democratic Society


SDS joins Jacksonville protest (photo by Matthew St. Jean).

Zach Yearwood, News Editor

Black leaders of UNF’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) shared their thoughts with Spinnaker regarding nationwide protests against racial injustice. Several members of the student organization attended a protest held in Jacksonville on Saturday.

Protests began in Minnesota last Tuesday after bystanders recorded a Minneapolis police officer digging his knee into George Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, sparking outrage throughout the country.

Q: “How do you feel about the nationwide protests?”

A: “The nation wide protest is needed and called for. Death of Black men, women and children needs to come to an end and we are happy to see the masses coming together to protest against it. To fight for justice. This is an enduring fight that has [been] occurring for centuries. The people are demonstrating that enough is enough, and justice must be demanded to be achieved!” 

Q: “What are your stances on peaceful protesting and violent protesting?”

A: “Peaceful protesting and violent protesting are both needed. Even though people try to use MLK as a reference as a non-violent protester, which he was in the beginning of his career, towards the near end of his life, his stance changed. He knew that the movement needed to become more militant and radical for a change.When people stop or don’t listen to the peaceful protesting that Black people have done (taking a knee) more radical protests are bound to happen.”

Q: “What do you hope to achieve through protesting?”

A: “Our goal is ultimately: community control of the police. We need justice for victims of police brutality. Through community control of police we accomplish transparency and accountability. We need to see body camera footage and we need to be able to subpoena evidence within these investigations. When something like this happens the people need to know why someone was killed by someone who is supposed to “protect them.” 

Q: “How do you feel about the Jacksonville protests?”

A: “Jacksonville has spoken, over 3,000 people came out to the protest to stand up and speak out against the unjust murder of George Floyd and many other victims like him. It’s empowering to see our city come together and agree that Black people in America are being killed for no reason other than being Black. This is a huge step for our community and people are already contacting us and other grassroots organizations for the next steps.”

Q: “Any final thoughts on the matter?”

A: “Join/donate to your local grassroots organizations such as [SDS] as well as Jacksonville Community Action Committee. Our link is in our bio description. We have been able to collect over $20,000 to help our community including those affected by JSO while protesting. All of the power goes to the people and their fight for justice. Black Lives Matter.”

Protests have continued nationwide for over a week.

On Monday, President Trump threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, allowing him to deploy the U.S. military to domestic soil to suppress insurrections or rebellion. 

“[Monday], I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets,” the President said.

Although the military has yet to be deployed, governors and legal experts alike have questioned the legality of the President’s use of the act.


For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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Comments (2)

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  • S

    Student of ColorJun 4, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    Again UNF SDS shows solidarity with Black students during these hard times. Their reference to peaceful and violent protests reminds me of MLK’s quote “violence is the voice of the unheard.” I’m very glad we have an org at UNF that fights for students on and outside of campus. Their work is always looked up to!

  • C

    Concerned AlumnusJun 3, 2020 at 10:39 am

    “Peaceful and violent protesting are both needed.” What? Last thing we need is attacks on innocent bystanders, businesses, and churches. Is UNF next? I don’t think most students want to see their campus set ablaze, while SDS turns a blind eye and says that it was justifiable and necessary. Recall that you gave the President the power to expel _anybody_ at his sole discretion. UNF would be a much more peaceful place without SDS militants.