April 10, 2015

Tallahassee SDS Marches Against the Klan and Racism

Photo by Rosie Richeson

On Thursday, April 9th, over 100 students gathered at the steps of the Westcott administration building on Florida State Universities campus to protest the recent Klan activity in Tallahassee communities and Florida law enforcement. Just last week the KKK made national headlines when three Florida Department of Corrections officers, who were secretly members of Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, were caught planning to lynch a black prisoner once he had been released. This news came at the same time as the KKK was carrying out a major recruiting campaign throughout Florida, passing out hundreds of flyers near Tallahassee throughout Leon and Jefferson Counties.

After rallying on campus, SDS members led the protesters in an unpermitted march through the streets downtown toward the Florida State Capitol Building, leading the crowd in chants including "DOC, KKK, how many people have you killed today?" and "Indict. Convict. Send those racist cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell!" Protesters carried signs including "Fuck the Prison Industrial KKKomplex" and "Klan Out Of Tally".

In the days proceeding the march, SDS organizers had received threats from white nationalist militias saying that they would be holding an armed counter-protest against SDS. However, when the protest reached the Old Capitol Building, there were no counter-protesters to be found. The protesters stood on the steps of the Old Capitol Building, while members of SDS and other supporting organizations including the Black Liberation Action Coordinating Committee (BLACC), Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and Trans Liberation Front gave speeches condemning the KKK and the racist Florida police forces.

As the rally came to a close, organizers brought out the Confederate Battle Flag. After spitting and stomping on the flag, organizers lit it on fire while the crowd chanted "Klan Out Now." SDS organizers promised to continue the fight against racism and white supremacy wherever it appears.