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Florida State students stand with Mizzou for International Students’ Day 2015

By Regina Joseph |
November 22, 2015
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Students at FSU celebrate International Students' Day
Students at Florida State University (FSU) campus celebrate International Students’ Day and express solidarity with student movements across the world. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Tallahassee, FL – On Nov. 17, 50 students gathered on the Florida State University (FSU) campus to celebrate International Students’ Day and express solidarity with student movements across the world, including the recent protests and strikes by students at the University of Missouri. Students held a banner stating “FSU stands with Mizzou: International Students’ Day 2015,” as well as various signs, including “End racism on campus: FSU to Mizzou” and “Justice for the Ayotzinapa 43.”

Regina Joseph, a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), opened the event by explaining the history of Nov. 17. “It is important to stand here on International Students’ Day, because this was the day when the Nazis massacred Czech students who were protesting occupation in 1939. We must realize that students have a very important position in society where they can make change.”

Joseph led the crowd in chants, including “FSU to Mizzou! Racism lives here too!” and “Long live international solidarity!”

Several different speakers also took the stage to draw the connection between the struggles of oppressed peoples around the world to the struggle of African American youth in the U.S.

“We are here with integrity standing in solidarity with students in Palestine and in Missouri,” said Albert Kishek, president of Students for Justice in Palestine.

“There is a very direct connection between Ferguson and Ayotzinapa, or with Black university students in the U.S. and the overwhelmingly brown and indigenous students in Ayotzinapa. Both get stigmatized for who they are and what they look like,” said Dr. Alex Aviña, the SDS faculty adviser and a professor of history at FSU.

Students also expressed their intention to not only stand in solidarity but to also build a local movement on campus against racism. SDS members collected petition signatures at the event as part of their campaign to increase African American enrollment.

“What we need is the return of affirmative action policies, which actually take into consideration the systemic racism that Black people face in this country. So they actually stand a chance at being accepted to the university and getting an education which is so often denied Black people in this country through various racist initiatives such as the prison industrial complex,” said Katherine Draken, a member of SDS.

Joseph ended the rally with a reading of the National SDS statement celebrating the victory of the University of Missouri movement. Students from the crowd came up to speak during an open session of the event, to show solidarity with the University of Missouri and slam the racism that African American students continue to face.

Organizers announced their intention to continue the struggle against racism with a rally to increase African American enrollment on Dec. 3, as part of SDS's National Day to Demand Affirmative Action.

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