Anti-racist learning has come to the forefront of students' everyday lives. People have learned that anti-racist education must also coincide with actions that support Black, Indigenous and other minority communities.
The University of Minnesota student group, Women for Political Change, caught the attention of students last month as they hosted community outreach events and helped provide anti-racism resources to students following the police killing of George Floyd. The organization was first founded at the University of Minnesota five years ago and has since branched out to other campuses.
“We uplift voices in political spaces that they are not often heard in,” said University of Minnesota fourth-year student and this year’s WFPC president, Quinn Morris. The group’s main audience is minorities, women, transgender people, non-binary people and students.
Throughout the month of June, the group has hosted sponsored events like a community clean up with the student organization Coalition for Progressive Change. WFPC has also facilitated virtual fundraisers and student sit-ins. On June 25 they are co-hosting a sit-in on President Gabel’s front lawn.
Minnesota’s Women for Political Change, the parent organization of the University’s student group, hosted a virtual queer DJ set on Saturday, June 13, with artist duo Auxxy Bubblez. WFPC created the event to allow people to be involved in collective community healing through art. The set was also meant to inspire people to continue working hard during this time when many, specifically minority groups, are feeling weighed down.
“I think they used the DJ event as an event for finding joy as an act of resistance,” said University of Minnesota fourth-year student and the University group’s co-communications director, Maddy Melloy. “I think it was a good way for people to incorporate their interests and everyday lives into going forward with the movement.”
Coming in July, UMN WFPC is hosting a bi-weekly book club. “We believe that education doesn't end when the semester is over, especially since higher education spaces are often inaccessible and lack the stories of Black and Indigenous POCs,” Morris said. The group hopes to educate students and community members on the stories of Black voices. Angela Davis’ “Are Prisons Obsolete?” will be the first book on the agenda.
“We wanted to set it up to be an ongoing thing — as we think about long term commitments to what we can do to continue being actively anti-racist and educate ourselves,” Melloy said. She hopes the community outside of the organization will be the ultimate leaders of the book club’s future plans.
WFPC is constantly growing its partnerships with other campus student groups. Some of their main affiliate groups are Coalition for Progressive Change, Students for a Democratic Society and UMN Climate Strike. By growing their student connections, they hope to further diversify opinions and ideas in the group.
“It’s [WFPC] very much like-minded minds, but it’s great that we get to hear all these different sides of arguments,” Morris said.
According to Melloy, the group intentionally did not plan any events specifically celebrating Pride this month to focus on the work of the Black Lives Matter movement and the continuation of anti-racist education.
“This movement is an intersectional one, so it also has to do with Pride.”