Students for a Democratic Society fight racism head-on

Courtesy of Vonkeisha Gibson

Florida State University’s Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) marched alongside other anti-racism groups at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia Sunday to protest against the Klu Klux Klan white supremacists rally.  

FSU student and SDS organizer Regina Joseph explained the turnout for the protest.

“Out of the 2,000 people who were supposed to show up in favor for the Klan, about 15 people came,” Joseph said.

Joseph explained some Klan members reneged after being notified that counter-protestors would be there.  

Stone Mountain Park history is no secret. It has the largest high relief sculpture in the world, the Confederate Memorial Carving, which depicts three Confederate heroes of the Civil War, President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson.

The entire sculpted surface is larger than a football field and Mount Rushmore, according to  The park was endorsed by United Daughters of the Confederacy, who believed that African-Americans needed to “behave as faithful servants,” according to the Encyclopedia of Virginia.

Joseph made a GoFundMe account on April 11, requesting money to help get students and protestors from Tallahassee to Georgia. The account raised $380 out of the initial goal of $500.

A laser show, a cable car ride and a prom event was cancelled by Stone Mountain Park officials due to the protesters and the concern for everyone’s safety, according to Stone Mountain police,

Stone Mountain police spokesperson John Bankhead explained how they have never experienced a situation like this.

“We’ve never had this issue before,” Bankhead said.

In order to keep the environment “peaceful,” Bankhead said police officials tried keeping the “anti-racism” groups separate from the “white-supremacists” group.  

FSU student and SDS organizer Zachary Schultz said that the police were highly protective of the Klu Klux Klan members, and only allowed the counter-protesters to get close enough to chant.

“Eight people (counter-protesters) were arrested without warning, for simply having on face masks or sitting on the ground,” Schultz said.

According to Schultz, protestors were chanting, “You can’t stop the revolution,” “Cops and Klans go hand and hand” and “Black lives matter.”

Schultz recalled the police taking the counter-protesters on detours in order to keep distance from the “white-supremacists” protesters. The chanting proximity took about an hour to accomplish.    

The protest seemed to lean in favor of the “anti-racism”counter-protesters due to the “white-supremacists” protesters leaving first.

“Our mission was accomplished,” Biko Misabiko, a counter-protester from Jacksonville, said.

Protesters like Misabiko and Schultz walked away feeling accomplished.

“This was an exhausting and triumphant event. The fight with the police to get to the Klan was powerful. I was glad to connect with other activists from South. The movement is getting stronger,” Schultz said.