Building Community Through Social Activism
Yestin Arvin Gochuico – Staff Writer
Following the murder of George Floyd and escalating racial injustices in the U.S., Prof. Rhonda Bobb and Prof. Jennifer Killiam of South Campus recently hosted Social Justice Week. It is a series of events held virtually from Jan. 24 to 27 aiming to drive conversations in the Broward College (BC) community about addressing racial disparities through Social Justice movements.
In the 5th event Activism 101 – You Can Make a Difference, Faculty Librarian Dawn Stahura discussed the youth’s role in activism and how all forms of activism can lead to change. She also shared resources for people who want to start engaging in activism. “[Change] is coming in the form of young people,” she said, “I have highlighted the word act because I think that is such a big part of it. It’s about action.”
During the event, attendees watched various videos of youth activists in action, with one about 11-year-old activist Naomi Wadler. Stahura wanted to display that “anyone can be an activist. Anyone can create a change. There’s no barrier just because of your age.”
The presentation showed ways to participate in activism like fact-checking sources, boycotting products, writing letters to officials, and creating zines. It’s significant for all people to participate even in micro-activism, according to Stahura, because “it can and does lead to macro-activism. The small turns something into larger.”
“So many of us don’t call ourselves activists, or we don’t think that the work that we’re doing is considered activism … not all of us can risk getting arrested, attending protests, or things like that for various reasons. But that doesn’t mean that we’re not activists,” Stahura said, highlighting that people can and do engage in activism no matter how small they may be.
The event featured a comprehensive research guide Activism 101 published on the BC libraries website, aiming to provide foundational readings about activism, social justice and understanding of the system at play in the country. People can use the guide as a starting point to figure out where to start making a difference.
As a zinester, a person who publishes a zine, Stahura shared how it is one of the many ways to participate in activism accessible to many. Typically, hand-made and small-circulated, a zine is a type of magazine that “democratizes” publishing by self-publication. With zines, activists can write their own narratives and be “in control” of how their stories are distributed.
“[Zines are] about the sharing of stories, starting movements,” Stahura said. In response to various pressing issues that don’t make national headlines, they are a way to “push against the dominant narrative” played out by disproportionate media coverage.
The discussion concluded with the message, “be the expert of your own lived experiences.” “Your stories matter,” Stahura said, “If there’s one person who’s brave … that bravery to stand up and say ‘hey, this isn’t right,’ I can guarantee you that there’ll be other folks sharing a space with you that agree.”
For any questions about Activism 101, contact Faculty Librarian Dawn Stahura at email@example.com. You can access the mentioned research guide through this link: https://libguides.broward.edu/activism101.
The hosts partnered with the BC Arts, Humanities, Communications, Design department and the Festival of Music, Film, Literature, Art to make the series happen. For more information about Social Justice Week, contact Prof. Rhonda Bobb at firstname.lastname@example.org or Prof. Jennifer Killiam at email@example.com.