Politics | February 15th, 2023
Rally to Save our History
By: Kayla Delcham
Today, hundreds of students and activists rallied to protest the “Stop Woke Act.” This act prohibits the instruction of race and diversity in Florida public school systems.
Reverand Al Sharpton, a notable advocate for human rights, led the rally as a keynote speaker. Many other prominent religious leaders, including Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Jr., accompanied Sharpton to lead a march from Bethel Missionary Church to the Florida State Capitol.
Although Sharpton is fighting to reverse the “Stop Woke Act,” he believes that “being woke” is only the tip of the iceberg.
“[DeSantis] says ‘Florida is where woke dies,'” said Sharpton. “However, only sleepy folk[s] think the process stops with woke…We went from woke to work.”
Prominent activists are not the only people who are outraged by the enacting of the act. Akiva Bell, a student at Florida A&M University, is also enraged by the “Stop Woke Act.” Bell believes the “Stop Woke Act” is a blatant attempt to erase African-American history.
“I am beyond enraged,” said Bell. “As a black woman in society, it is disheartening to know that our governor, Ron DeSantis, is erasing the history that has shaped my existence.”
Nonetheless, all involved saw this peaceful protest as an overall success.
“I felt as though it went very well,” said Venneta Hall, a student from Florida A&M University. “Nothing ended in a riot or anger. [Opposers] have no right to say that we did anything wrong.”
Other people left this rally feeling inspired to make a change in their communities. Christina Blythe, a student from Florida State University, expressed that although this was her first time protesting, she felt motivated to keep the message going on her campus.
“As a student leader on campus, I plan to continue speaking about [the “Stay Woke Act’],” said Blythe. “We can not afford to lose the one thing we have on our PWI campus.”
However, the fight does not stop at the “Stop Woke Act.” Malik Gary, a grassroots organizer, believes that although this issue is prominent, there are other pressing issues that activists can not ignore.
“People in food deserts need nutrition,” said Gary. “We must get back to the root [of the problem].”
To continue the fight for justice, Gary believes that activists can’t let the conversation die.
“Don’t be quiet and stick out everywhere you can,” said Gary. “Your voice is just as important as getting to the ballot box.”