50th Anniversary Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer, also known as the Mississippi Freedom Project, brought together many participants in the Civil Rights Movement to register Black voters in Mississippi as well as open Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses, and community centers to support local Black citizens. Among the supporters were a large contingent of northern, White college students, many of whom were victims of violence (some killed) at the hands of the White Citizens Council and Ku Klux Klan, which polarized our nation.
This past weekend, organizers and activists from across the nation gathered in at Tougaloo College in Jackson, MS to commemorate and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer. Among the attendees were the field study participants from Florida, the Dream Defenders, as well as the Ohio Students Association, United We Dream, and youth from Freedom Side. Check out the Freedom Summer 50 gallery, which recounts the weekend’s events and celebration participants.
We were excited to catch up with the Dream Defenders, with whom many discussions were had about the ongoing work being done on the field study. In addition, we were able to follow-up to gain clarifying information about various questions emerging since beginning analysis of our conversations of the last academic year. They are extremely excited for the forthcoming report on the study and we hope to continue working diligently over the next few months to provide useful data to continue the great work of student activists and organizers.
Last summer, student activists in Florida known as the Dream Defenders held one of the longest sit-in demonstrations in recent Tallahassee history, as they attempted to get Rick Scott to call for a special session on the controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law. The sit-in began just days after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Though Scott declined to convene such a session, the group received national attention for their actions, and they vowed that they would be back in 2014 to educate thousands of new voters in advance of the 2014 state elections. +Read more
Research Update 6/25
hope this finds you each well as the summer is underway! Since my last update, I have been pulling together a number of documents collected during our field study over the past academic year. I have uploaded most of these documents (to include news articles, blogs, and event transcripts) to our nalysis software program and begun the coding process.
As you can see in the photo, excerpts from each document are created and color-coded based on the code(s) used to help identify topics and themes throughout the entire data set. This process will repeat itself over the next several weeks before I begin to make sense of all the codes in relation to one another and across various data we’ve collected since last September.
Thank you, again, for your support and interest in this project. We look forward to continuing our work over the summer in preparation for our preliminary report this September. Stay tuned for more updates over the next couple months and please reach out should you have any questions about our study.
Research Update 5/12
It’s been awhile, but we have been working! We recently distilled some preliminary findings of our 2013-2014 field study of contemporary student activism in college. As a result, we have submitted two research proposals to the 2014 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) conference, which will be held in Washington D.C. in November.
ASHE is a scholarly society with 2,000 members dedicated to higher education as a field of study. It is committed to diversity in its programs and membership, and has enjoyed extraordinary success in involving graduate students in Association activities. Each year, ASHE hosts its annual meeting of higher education scholars and practitioners to share innovative work in the field.
Our two proposals, which are detailed below, hope to advance a rebirth of conversation and study of student activism:
TITLE: oward a genre theory of contemporary student organizing: An exploration of alternative and activist new media perspectives
ABSTRACT: Alternative and activist new media provide new ways and tools for contemporary college students to participate and engage in activism and social justice organizing. Relying on Lievrouw’s book on the subject, this paper explores mobile- and web-based media activist practices of millennial college-goers. Further, popular and scholarly conversations on college students and millennials are engaged to firmly situate a more pressing argument for 1) broadening understandings of student use of social media, and 2) reframing student organizing within the digitally-mediated contexts and experiences of contemporary college and university life. Implications for future research and social justice organizing in college are discussed.
TITLE: ew media, culture jamming, and the college student reclamation of social justice in contemporary hip-hop
ABSTRACT: Lievrouw’s concept of culture jamming refers media in which images, sounds, and text are appropriated from popular culture for points of social and cultural critique, political commentary, and similar analyses. Using this framework, in tandem with Petchauer’s archetype of the hip-hop collegian, I present an ethnographic account of millennial college student organizing in the South. More specifically, I discuss hip-hop collegians (re)appropriation of contemporary hip-hop, as popular culture, in recombinant ways with new media, creating unique organizing and mobilizing practices. Implications for higher education research and social justice education in college are discussed.
Without your support, these two proposals could not have been written. We look forward to updating you later this summer once we hear if our proposals have been accepted. Also, stay tuned for our forthcoming report this fall as well as more interview footage with the outstanding student organizers, the Dream Defenders.
Meet Marie Paul, a student and Dream Defender at the University of Central Florida, who discusses her experiences regarding patriarchy in organizing work and the importance of engaging the topic proactively as a progressive social justice community.
Meet Nickeela Fisher, a student and Dream Defender at Broward College, who shares why she thinks it’s important for young people to engage in activism and social justice work.
We recently spent time with students at Florida International University (Miami, FL) where they’re organizing students to create awareness about and fight against the school-to-prison pipeline affecting Miami residents. Currently, they are planning on-campus outreach and recruiting initiatives to build their Dream Defenders chapter during Black History Month.
Six city chapters of Dream Defenders, comprised of students from 8 Florida colleges and universities, convened December 16th - 18th in Orlando, FL to engage in improving their organizing skills, analyze their year-in-review, strengthen their organizational structure, and build their collective power. Hosted at the University of Central Florida, three 12-hour days we packed with student-led workshops and presentations on capacity building, communications strategies, campaign planning, and interpersonal relationships.
+ more on DDOD Statewide Retreat