The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

80° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Getting Involved: SJA’s Intro to College Activism

    With school firming underway the time has come to begin branching out and seeing what types of organizations are available. The college offers a plethora of choices so no matter where your interests lie there will be something for you. One of the options is a fantastic club called the Social Justice Alliance (SJA).

    Through a variety of local and national discussions, workshops, rallies, art exhibits, and teachings the SJA is a group that devotes its time to the struggle for social justice and democracy. The members of the SJA are attempting to establish an all-inclusive activist community right here on campus.

    On September 8, a handful of students’ had the privilege of attending a teach-in organized by Charlene Obernauer, the president of the SJA, and the other associates of the club. The primary topics addressed were the Sweat-free Campus Campaign, the Fair Food Campaign, the war in Iraq, U.S Detainee Camps, the School of the Americas Watch, and Hurricane Katrina.

    One of the SJA’s prominent platforms is to promote the awareness that sweatshops are present, not only in nations abroad, but right here in the United States. During the discussion, a panel of activists from United Students Against Sweatshops and the Student Farm Worker Alliance described the industries that are currently mistreating their workers and the alliances that have precipitated to combat these industries.

    The well known McDonald’s fast food chain is the current target of an organization called the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CWI) that has been battling for over a decade to eliminate sweatshop circumstances present in the fields of Florida. Inhumane labor conditions and unjust wages are among the several malefactions that the McDonald’s enterprise has been accused of by the CWI. Here on campus the SJA hosts a Sweat-Free Campus Campaign on Thursdays from 7:00pm until 7:30pm in the lounge of the second floor of Union Station.

    In a later conversations Michael Schwartz, a professor of Sociology at Stony Brook, expressed his feelings about the prolonged U.S. involvement in Iraq. Was there ever really a Democratic campaign in Iraq? Is the United States presence really suppressing violence in the cities and streets? These were only some of the questions Professor Schwartz posed during this meeting. He stated that the U.S. is actually perpetuating, not reducing, multiple forms of violence within the borders of Iraq.

    There is violence due to the U.S. occupation, resistance to this occupation, the formation of death squads, which are groups of pro-U.S. Iraqi soldiers used to eliminate the activists who are attempting to disrupt our army’s plans, ally and enemy bombers, and economic upheaval. Professor Schwartz claimed that it is possible that after our forces withdraw from the war zone that ethnic tensions could still exist, however, aren’t homemade car bombs a little less dangerous than two ton bombs being dropped from enormous altitudes onto unsuspecting towns by U.S. fighter jets? ‘The more they (U.S.) try to smash it (Iraq), the worse it’s going to get,’ stated Schwartz towards the conclusion of his speech.

    General meetings for the SJA occur on Tuesdays between 5:30pm-6:30pm in the third floor lounge of the SAC. The members are extending an open invitation for all those individuals who are interested in becoming part of a group looking to improve the lives of people not only within the community here at Stony Brook, but within the community of the globe as well.

    Keep an eye out for upcoming SJA sponsored events and take part in a club that has its goals clearly defined and is well on its way to seeing these very goals become a reality.

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *