SDS Black History Month Statement

SDS Black History Month Statement

For Black History Month this year, National Students for a Democratic Society calls on students to build a fight for Black history, more admissions of Black students, and hiring of Black faculty. SDS demands that schools and universities teach and fully fund Black history in universities, high schools, and at all levels of education. With the recent Supreme Court overruling of affirmative action along with diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices being threatened or closed all over the country, SDS demands that universities do more to increase, not decrease, their admissions of Black students and their hiring of Black faculty.

Over the past year, the teaching of Black history in classrooms, African American Studies at universities, and Black student groups have all come under attack by the Republican Party. Republican politicians have passed anti-education bills that ban the teaching of Black history. In Florida, Ron DeSantis’s anti-education bills banned the teaching of civil rights and Black history that focuses on racism, as well as banned an African American studies Advanced Placement course. This means he wants schools to teach a wrong, whitewashed version of American history rather than a meaningful one. He even went so far as to revise the state Department of Education K-12 guidelines to insist that slaves benefited from slavery, an egregious lie. It is clear that he aims to ban African American studies at universities altogether. The Republicans understand that the teaching of Black History is a political threat to their racist anti-Black political agenda.

University administrators have remained complacent in these attacks on Black history, DEI offices, and affirmative action by cooperating with the Republican bans at universities such as Florida State Universities. In blue/democratic states university administrations have made budget cuts that threaten to strip funding from programs like African American Studies. SDS demands universities do not comply with Black history bans. Instead, we think schools need to fully fund African American Studies and create those majors where they don’t exist. Universities have a responsibility to teach Black history and meet the needs and demands of Black students and Black faculty.

Lessons learned from the student movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s has taught us that students must fight for the teaching of Black history. African American Studies was only won by student protests, occupations, and the student movement in the fight for ethnic studies led by the Third World Liberation Front, Black Student Unions, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, and more. In states such as Florida, bills have passed that ban funding of Black Student Unions as well as even Black fraternities, sororities, and other organizations. In other states, Black Student Union and other student groups are pressured by university administration to stay silent on these attacks. Administration has no right to ban student groups, or to tell them to be silent. It was the political action of Black Student Unions that won African American Studies and the teaching of Black history!

National SDS calls on all of our chapters to continue to make demands and hold protests as part of our national campaign to defend ethnic studies, DEI, and programs like African American Studies. Black history, African American Studies, and Black student groups must no longer face bans or budget cuts on campus and in all schools!

Fight for Black History!
Black History Matters!
Black Lives Matter!
No bans, no cuts to African American Studies!