FSU students unite against Charlie Kirk’s ‘Culture War’ event
Tallahassee, FL – Florida State University students gathered in protest of Charlie Kirk on March 10.
FSU was the first stop for Charlie Kirk’s “Culture War Tour” sponsored by Turning Point USA (TPUSA). “FSUnite Against Kirk” was born in response to this event, a self-described student coalition dedicated to spreading a message of love and acceptance in the wake of Kirk’s purposefully divisive rhetoric.
A group of students of all walks of life attended, including six speakers representing different student organizations; Ellie Cooper, president of JStreet U; Alyssa Ackbar, State Director for Florida March for Our Lives; Sadie Cosgrove, member of College Democrats and Gender Odyssey; Delilah Pierre, graduate and organizer with the Tallahassee Community Action Committee (TCAC) and Students for a Democratic Society (SDS); and Isabela Casanova, vice president of Students for a Democratic Society.
Speeches were meant to convey a “story of self”, with each speaker voicing how rhetoric pushed by Kirk and TPUSA goes against FSU’s claims of diversity and inclusiveness and impacts them personally.
FSU is a predominantly white institution. “FSU’s decision to bring Charlie Kirk to campus sends a clear message that minorities are not valued here,” Ackbar stated. “Kirk’s rhetoric is hate-filled and targeted at minority groups that are already at a disadvantage on campus.”
Students engaged in chants such as “The students united can never be defeated!” and “Say yes to love! Say no to hate!” and waved signs with similar messages.
Organizer Chloe Ilcus also helped draft a petition that was distributed at the event urging FSU’s President John Thrasher and administration to release a statement addressing Kirk’s visit to campus.
Attendees also signed a petition by SDS aimed at bringing a more concrete accountability process for sexual abusers and rapists on FSU campus. SDS will lead a coalition of students, campus groups, area residents and community organizations in a march from campus to the state capitol on Saturday, April 11.
FSUnite Against Kirk was met with some backlash both in person and on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook due to the nature of Kirk’s event, but organizers took such backlash in stride.
“We have to organize like this,” Cooper insisted. “Being here today allows me to see the type of community I know FSU can be.”