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West Chester SDS event ‘The Case for Reparations for Slavery’

By Ian Gallagher

West Chester, PA – Students for a Democratic Society at West Chester University held a special event on Nov. 12 with history professor Jim Jones speaking on, “The Case for Reparations for Slavery.”

Speaking about both historical and current oppression faced by African Americans, Jones combined a general analysis of why African Americans deserve reparations with individual research, “As far as I know and have traced with my family history, my ancestors never owned slaves. Does that mean that some of them might not have driven on ships transporting slaves? No.”

Jones also encouraged students to think about their collective purpose in society, “There's certainly a lot that you younger people can do and come up with then I can. The demonstrations in Missouri show that; but now it's up to you and your generation to make the changes necessary.”

The SDS event was held to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Ferguson protests of Nov. 24, 2014. The failure to indict the white police officer, Wilson, who shot Michael Brown dead, gave new life to protests that are now a developing movement.

SDSers discussed this revived African American movement during the event. The big victory of African American students at University of Missouri, near Ferguson, this week made national news. Student solidarity rallies are now being organized across the country now and the movement is growing.

A Nov. 9 SDS solidarity statement reads in part: “National Students for a Democratic Society stands in solidarity with the African-American students, faculty, football players and other members of the University of Missouri campus community, who have been protesting against the administration's inaction towards a series of racist slurs and hate crimes.

“Just today, the University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe has stepped down from his post, in response to student protests and the football team's strike against administration's inaction towards racist hate speech….

“Students for a Democratic Society views the resignation of President Tim Wolfe as the hard-won success of the football players' strike, the student demonstrations and the faculty's solidarity. We also demand that administrators not only address hate speech, but also that campus administrations increase their enrollment and retention of African-American students and end discriminatory admissions practices.”

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