Activist clubs advocate change

By Henry Murray, Sports Editor

Student activist groups are continuing to work towards influencing change in a variety of issues despite social distancing restrictions due to the global pandemic.

Clubs such as Students Demand Action and People of Color Student Union have been meeting virtually to educate peers about issues such as gun reform and racial equality.

“The goal of Students Demand Action is to raise awareness about gun violence, not only in our school community but in the larger San Francisco community,” club president Cole Matthes said. “I wanted to create a student-led organization with people who have the common interest in advocating for gun reform.”

Matthes says he became interested in the cause after he saw the newly created documentary “Us Kids,” which follows the survivors from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting in 2018.

“After seeing “Us Kids” I was inspired to found SDA and also wanted to give the opportunity for all students to view it,” Matthes said.

SDA raised money to host a free drive-in private screening of the documentary at Fort Mason as a way to spread awareness about the student gun control movement in early November.

“Joining SDA and hosting the viewing of “Us Kids” opened my eyes to how influential and widespread the youth gun reform movement is,” club member Chase Mack said.

I wanted to create a student-led organization with people who have the common interest in advocating for gun reform.

— Cole Matthes

SDA is not the only student-led club advocating for social justice. The People of Color Student Union is holding virtual meetings intended to educate peers on issues of racial injustice.

“We have been meeting virtually as a club to discuss the best forms of dialogue,” club member Andre Pang said. “During our virtual meetings we focused on trying to create a stronger community of POCs and allies.”

Students say that membership in the union helps inspire their activism.

“Being a person of color at Stuart Hall, there is not many times when I can interact with other students who have shared similar experiences,” senior D’Angelo Flores, member of the club leadership, said. “POCSU allows me to have these conversations with other fascinating students.”

Student activists say that despite the less than ideal conditions brought on by social distancing, social activism needs to occur whether it is in-person or online.

“Youth should not feel like their voices aren’t heard when it comes to politics,” Matthes said. “By joining a larger group of individuals who express similar concerns about national issues, students can feel more interested in expressing their beliefs.”