Activism looks a little different today than it did years ago.
Some believe that simply liking, sharing or commenting on social media can make one an activist. But Florida A&M student Jeremiah Nichols has a more traditional take on political and social change.
Nichols is a third-year student from Tampa majoring in African American studies with a minor in African psychology who plans on having a diverse career once he completes his degree.
“I want to be a professor; I want to have my own school, be a psychologist and a historian. I eventually want to make movies and TV shows. So anything that I feel like I have the potential to do, I want to do it,” Nichols said. “I feel like my major has put me in the position to do that.”
Originally a business administration student, Nichols was inspired to change his major after realizing he preferred something with more of a social aspect. He also said the George Floyd protest had a lot to do with him making such a big change.
“When it came to George Floyd and the protest and things like that, I was like, I have an opportunity to put my history and knowledge to use. I said I don’t only want to do this on the side; I want this to be my life,” Nichols said.
Fellow student Jaydan Harley said, “Jeremiah’s one of the few people who is actually about change. He’s real deal out here not just talking about it but doing things.”
Nichols also spends his time in different campus organizations. He is a part of the FAMU chapter of Progressive Black Men Inc., chief organizer and co-founder of Ubuntu, the undergraduate vice president for the Association of Black Psychologists student circle, and also works closely with the African Student Association.
Nichols said that Ubuntu originally started as a book club because he wanted to share his knowledge with others, but the murder of George Floyd made him want to become more active than just reading.
“Reading’s not going to get the job done alone,” Nichols said.
The organization hosts events surrounded by building the African American community while also dedicating time to community service. This is not your average cleaning up trash, but helping to create change in the Black community by working with the children.
An article in The Famuan last year reported that “Nichols and his Ubuntu organization have successfully made strides towards these achievements in Tampa by starting a community garden that gives back to its residents and pair tending with the Hillsborough County School Board to initiate a program to teach African American History in high school.”
A friend of Nichols, Chelsie Ross, attended the Ubuntu interest meeting and said she was very impressed with the organization’s dedication.
“I met Jeremiah last semester, and I already knew him to be very passionate about what he preaches, so I was not surprised to see the strong foundation his organization had,” Ross said
Nichols says he hopes the way he lives his life will be an example to others.
“A lot of people see me as this conscious activist guy and they wonder like, ‘Is there more to him?’ And yes is the answer,” Nichols said. “People think you still can’t have fun; you still can’t live your life the way you want to live it. Now that’s false.”
He believes that people should also dedicate time toward one’s people.
“It’s not hard, you can balance these things but it’s all about do you want to make the sacrifice?” Nichols said.
When’s he’s not participating in community service or studying, he enjoys watching TV shows like “Black Dynamite,” reading, writing or playing basketball.