Jacksonville, FL – The University of North Florida (UNF) chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) rallied, marched, and staged a sit in, Feb. 28, to present several demands to the school administration. These demands included turning the campus into a sanctuary campus, banning Trump’s administration from visiting UNF, and pushing for more Black, Latino and other oppressed nationality teachers and students on campus. There was also a call for a $15 living wage for all workers on campus. Over 40 students participated in the event, titled “SDS Strikes Back” in reference to last semester’s huge Black Lives Matter rally that launched SDS and pulled a core of student activists together.
The students began by rallying. Several speakers told the crowd about the importance of fighting for a more just society in which everybody was treated fairly, a fight that SDS has started on campus. There were a few conservative students that tried to disrupt the rally, but they were unable to do so and the protesters mostly ignored them and prevented them from speaking.
The students then rallied behind the banner and chanted “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all!” and “When immigrant lives are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” The militant march showed that students are willing to stand up and fight for those that are hit the hardest by the Trump administration, and fight against attacks on immigrants, the Black community, queer people and students.
Students marched to the university president's office to deliver the list of demands, emphasizing the call for a sanctuary campus, and demand a meeting from the president of the university. SDS sat near the president’s office and held a sit-in long enough to see both the university president and the former mayor of Jacksonville carefully step through the crowd of students on their way to the back rooms. SDS promised to return and elevate their campaign if the administration failed to respond correctly.
Summing up the event, Monique Williamson, president of UNF SDS, had this to say: “We held a rally to show UNF that we will stand against hate in any form. All of our groups will not stop fighting until we’ve won our demands. Brown and Black unity forever.”