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Students host panel discussion on ‘Civil Rights in the Era of the Jax5’

By Ryan McClure |
April 26, 2017
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SDS panel discussion on ‘Civil Rights in the Era of the Jax5.’ (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Jacksonville, FL - The University of North Florida chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) hosted a panel discussion, April 25, titled “Civil Rights in the Era of the Jax5.” The Jax5 are the five anti-war activists who were brutalized by police and arrested on April 7 in Jacksonville’s Hemming Park.

At the April 25 event, SDS brought together community organizers, student activists, professors and various student groups to discuss what happened April 7, and what it means for activists and the community of Jacksonville. Sponsored by six student groups, the event brought out about around 45 people involved in different movements. The support that this event received shows that students are interested in what is happening in the community, and this event helped bridge the divide between campus and community.

The panel discussion, moderated by SDS Vice President Aitana Arguedas, included, John Phillips, a lawyer in the Jax5 case; Wells Todd of Veterans for Peace; John Aloszka of the UNF Dems; David Jaffee, a professor of sociology at the university, and Ryan McClure of SDS.

The discussion topics focused on moving forward in light of the police surveillance and corresponding police attacks by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. The panel discussed safety measures, long-term strategy and what these attacks mean in the Trump era. The discussion ended by assessing how we bring the campus and community together, and finished with questions from the audience. Everyone vowed to attend a rally at the Duval County Courthouse on May 1 to support the Jax5.

Aitana Arguedas had this to say about the event: “The panel went very well and the audience seemed to be quite engaged with the topic. The panelists gave detailed answers to each question asked, which was insightful and interesting to hear different perspectives. The group of panelists was diverse in terms of political ideologies. People from both the right all the way to the far left were speaking. It was a comfort to see how many people were supportive of the Jax5. Of course, there were questions asked during the Q&A that were difficult to answer. However, people were responsive to the serious call to action each panelist was encouraging the audience to follow. We see a rise of interest in activism. People want to organize progressive movements and change society for the better. Overall, the panel went well. The Students for a Democratic Society at the University of North Florida will continue to hold events such as these so we can engage with both students and the overall Jacksonville community.”