Presented by: the Black Student Action Network, Philadelphia Community Institute of African Studies, Temple University African American Studies Department, and the Center for African American Research and Public Policy at Temple University
Black Student Action Network Call to Action
On college campuses, and in the high schools throughout this country, there are thousands of progressively minded, community oriented black students. Many of these students are already actively participating in black led student organizations that have a focus that exceeds the confines of their particular campuses. If we look back to the mobilizations led by black students that occurred in support of the Jena 6, or the victims of hurricane Katrina, we see evidence of this broader level of concern. At the moment black students on several campuses are organizing fundraisers and other events in support of the embattled people of Haiti. There is a great deal of progressive and commendable black student activity, but there is no coordination amongst black student movements.
Our mission is to develop a viable Black Student Action Network that will link, revitalize, educate, and activate black students toward political and social activism in the 21st century.
The ability of organized black students to act as powerful agents of social transformation was most concretely demonstrated by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
The founding of SNCC gave new vitality to the black freedom struggle and set the stage for the emergence of the black student as an actor of national political consequence.
In our attempts to bring about greater unity and an enhanced capacity for collective action among black students, we must not forget the millions of young black men and women that never make it to a college campus. Many schools in impoverished majority black districts have less than a 50% graduation rate. If we truly intend to help bring into existence a black mass student movement we must do so in collaboration with black high school students.
In order to accomplish this objective, we must develop an organizational form that will be a base for black students to rally around which will connect active black students with other active black students on a local, regional and national level. This organizational form must be grounded in recognition of the need to bridge the gap between campus and community, understanding that the struggles of black students are inextricably linked with the struggles of the black community. The network must be action oriented and consistently engaged in efforts to activate black students across campuses nationwide. The existence of a black student network, deeply rooted in the struggles of the black community will begin to restore the dynamism of black student movements.
The objective conditions already exist for the development of such a network. What has been lacking is the conscious action of student organizers committed to bringing it into existence.
The annual Whirlwind Conference will function as educational platform of the Black Student Action Network.
This is not an easy task, but it is ours to shoulder. We must build the Black Student Action Network!
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