JoAnna Mitchell, Staff Writer
On Wednesday, March 29, Brewer Hall room 230 saw the gathering of a group of passionate young students who stand together against inequality. The group served donuts and drinks while discussing issues within our society.
The College Democrats are a nationally chartered branch of the Democratic Party who seek to further the ideals of the party through fundraising and other forms of issue based campaigning.
“We want to be the armed force for everyone at JSU,” said Kyteria Marshall, the Public Relations Director for the JSU chapter. “We stand for everyone.”
Founded in August 2011, the group focuses mainly on issues of inequality and acceptance within society. According to their Facebook page, JSU College Democrats, they are “committed to providing JSU students and the community with the ‘other side’ of the story in Alabama politics.”
The group also seeks to encourage students to educate themselves on the issues affecting our society. Other Chapter officers include President Tyler Gay, Vice President Landon Watson, Secretary Caitlin Waits, Treasurers Dalton Cuttergoode and Hayden Hope, and Community Relations Director Alexis Paige.
One issue concerning the College Democrats is that of mental health. Marshall has noticed that within African American communities especially, mental health is not given proper attention.
This issue is close to the heart for Marshall, who recently lost a loved one to suicide. Marshall’s cousin Erica was told to simply “pray it away” when she approached their grandmother about her depression. Without proper support and professional attention, Erica could not cope with her mental health issues. Marshall hopes to educate people and prevent others from losing their life to a treatable illness.
The group is working with 3 other campus organizations Active Minds, the Secular Student Alliance, and W.I.S.E. to host The Entitlement Ball. The event will take place Thursday, April 6 at 10 p.m. at Camp Pink, 710 Lonely Pines Rd. Admission is $5 per person and all proceeds will go to The Choice, a local non-profit organization that seeks to raise mental health awareness and support suicide prevention. The event will have a casual dress code and a live DJ.
The group is also concerned with issues involving the LGBTQ community. Several members of the College Democrats are also members of the LGBTQ community and the group feels strongly about acceptance and understanding.
“They are our brothers, sisters, friends,” said Marshall. She feels that in the south, many people fail to recognize this.
The College Democrats also tackle the issue of race relations within U.S. society. The “I Refuse to Hate” campaign was started to bring students together regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, in telling the world why they refuse to hate one another. The campaign posts pictures of students holding a sign stating “I refuse to hate” along with a brief statement, to social media.
Marshall began this campaign after experiencing discrimination as a black woman. The photos can be found at any of the groups social media accounts. Search “JSU College Democrats” on Facebook and Twitter.
The bi-weekly meetings for the College Democrats are held every other Wednesday in Brewer Hall room 230 and begin at 7:00 p.m. If you are interested in joining the group, you may email a member via the social media accounts. There is a $10 membership fee.
Above: JSU students take the #IRefusetoHate pledge
You can follow the JSU College Democrats on Facebook, Twitter (@JSUDems).