Activism | March 9th, 2023

Stand for Something, Or Fall for Anything

By: Robert Tucker
Stand for Something, Or Fall for Anything

Many people believe you’ll fall for anything if you don’t stand for something of substance. Therefore, it is imperative to speak up when addressing problems. A statewide walkout occurred on the afternoon of February 23rd regarding Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s agenda that will and has affected education-related policies.

Students from different schools such as the University of Florida, New College of Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida International University, University of South Florida, University of North Florida, Edward Waters University, and Florida Polytechnic University all involved themselves with this initiative.

Within Tallahassee, Florida State University and Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University were the two institutions that had students participate in the statewide walkout. Regarding a lack of ethical concern for scholars while trying to receive an education focusing on African American History in more ways than one.

The Protest

Dream Defenders & students created this Tallahassee walkout event, so all participants will be fully aware of how to deal with situations when leaders are not guiding the citizens of the state of Florida the correct way.

The protesters included FAMU NAACP chapter President Sydney Aitcheson, who played a pivotal role in Rev. Al Sharpton’s contribution to the city of Tallahassee’s civil disputes by marching with local citizens and encouraging all attendees to stand up for what they believed on February 15th.

Local leaders such as FAMU’s Student Body President, Zachary Bell, and FSU’s Student Government Association President, Nimna Gabadage, were also part of the movement.

Scheduling the walkout for protesters to march to the Governor’s mansion. However, there was a central ground on FSU’s campus where frustrated people could peacefully address their concerns. The walkout occurred in the middle of a typical school day while classes were going on for many students.

What We Want

It involved educating the protest participants about subjects that created a substantial foundation within black and brown communities, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Black Panther Party.

All these programs were focused enough to demand specific necessities such as freedom, the knowledge that would enhance their thinking abilities, and the power to determine the destiny of the black community.

The participants engaged in a series of chants, including “stand up, fight back” and “I believe that we will win,” as students held up signs with phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” and “our history, our future.”

FAMU’s Senior Broadcast Journalism student Arriell Drayton says this protest makes her feel she is doing something right.

“It made me feel empowered and in control. I missed class knowing that regardless of the disciplinary outcome, I was making a change,” Drayton said after listening to fellow leaders voice their concerns after a long day.

Making this a Tradition

“I learned from this event that you must act if you want to see change; you must do the work. If you don’t complete a task such as advocating for rights among all ethnicities, you will never be heard.”

According to the NAACP President of the FAMU chapter Sydney Aichenson, protest such as these will happen more often.

“This is the second stand of unity and fury in the last week that people have come together to express their emotions regarding the decisions that the leader of this state has put forth an effort to devalue the education of all students with many different backgrounds.”

“However, I know that as long as we keep fighting, things will change for the better,” said Aichenson.

Many students are weary of what will be Gov. DeSantis’s next move. Still, many know they will not stop fighting for their future children to get proper education regarding America and its history.