NC Student Power Union

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NC Student Power Union is a student-led organization, made up of members from various campuses across North Carolina, building a coordinated, grassroots, statewide student movement to fight back against attacks on public education and all forms of oppression in our communities. We believe that education should be free and accessible to all peoples and that it should empower and inspire them to take control over their lives. United we will retake our schools and remake society.[1]

It is close to Ignite NC, and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization

Personnel

As of 2015;[2]

  • Danielle Thibault - Field organizer, has recently moved to Durham from Florida where she received her bachelor's degree in history from the University of Florida. She is now a candidate for her master's in History from NC Central University.
  • D’atra Jackson - Organization Director, is originally from Philadelphia and moved to Durham from Florida. She attended Cheyney University of Pennsylvania where she received her bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure management. She went on to obtain her master's in recreation and sport management from Florida International University in December 2013. While at FIU, Dee Dee was active in the Dream Defenders, a youth-led organization working state-wide against racial profiling, police brutality and the school-to-prison pipeline. She is also an aspiring movement DJ, named DJ MerQueen Gangsta for the Revolution.
  • Tristan Munchel - NCSPU’s first ever Communications Director. Tristan recently graduated from UNC-Greensboro where he received his bachelor’s degree in English. While at UNC–Greensboro he was involved in NCSPU and served as editor–in–chief of The Carolinian, UNCG’s student newspaper.

NC Student Power Union activists

NC Student Power Union May 23, 2014 ·

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With D'atra Jackson, Zaina Alsous, Stefan Weathers, Katie Miller, Casey Aldridge, Sarona Abuaker, Evan Kolosna and Elisa Benitez Hernandez.

NC Student Power Union May 23, 2014 ·

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With Elizabeth Brown, D'atra Jackson, Bryan Perlmutter, Saif Wideman, Sarona Abuaker, Laurel Ashton, Jess Ella May, Casey Aldridge, Evan Kolosna, Elisa Benitez Hernandez, Sanyu LG and Zaina Alsous.

NC Student Power Union May 3, 2014 ·

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Retreat at UNCG — with Casey Aldridge, Safiatou Soumana, Jess Ella May, Sarona Abuaker, Elizabeth Brown, Alice Wilder, Tracie Martin and Ashley Wrenn.

Peoples budget

NC Student Power Union March 27, 2013 ·

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Students from 4 different universities gathered today for a press conference and to deliver demands of a peoples budget to Senator Brunstetter — with Juan Miranda, Blanche Amelia S. Brown, Madeline Miller, Ben Carroll, Bryan Perlmutter and Zaina Alsous.

Challenging Art Pope

NC Student Power Union April 9, 2013 ·

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Folks at unc gather to challenge Art Pope who is speaking on campus today. When education is under attack what do we do? STAND UP FIGHT BACK — with Matt Hickson, Blanche Amelia S. Brown, Jerome Allen, Mars EEy, Madeline Miller, Pinguin Nguyen, Wilson Hood, Ray Belanger, Cat Crowe, Joshua Sassoon Orol, Nicole Welsh, Carey Hanlin and Gabby Whitehall.

History

In the face of ongoing attacks on public education, from budget cuts to tuition hikes, a group of North Carolina public university students came together in 2010 to found the NC Defend Education Coalition.

While primarily based on university campuses throughout the state, the NC Defend Education Coalition also built unity with other education struggles, particularly the fight led by undocumented youth for in-state tuition at the public universities and high school students' fight in Wake and Mecklenburg counties to resist attempts to re–segregate and privatize schools there. Our perspective has been, and continues to be, that we cannot win on our own. The only way we will ever be able to achieve the public education we need is to unite with other struggles and build a broad grassroots movement that can fight and win.

We organized our first action as the NC Defend Education Coalition on October 7, 2010, as part of a National Day of Action to Defend Public Education that saw hundreds of actions across the U.S. We helped organize a demonstration in Raleigh that raised the struggles to stop budget cuts and tuition hikes, to stop the efforts of the far right to resegregate schools in Wake County and for full access to public higher education for undocumented students.

Throughout 2011, the coalition helped organize several other actions, including a speak out and march in Raleigh on the opening day of the legislative session. We also joined with the North Carolina Association of Educators for a massive rally of more than 8,000 people to raise opposition to cuts to education and public services that May. More than 100 students came out from across the state, and several of our members were arrested in a civil disobedience action inside the legislative building following that demonstration.

When the UNC Board of Governors removed the cap on tuition hikes and put forward historic tuition increases ranging from 10-20% for all UNC system schools in 2012, we began organizing a campaign on campuses to fight back and raise the voices of students who would most directly impacted. At the BOG meeting in February 2012 we mobilized more than 200 students from 10 universities to protest the plan. At the end of the meeting students took over the meeting room, spoke out against the hikes, and convened a “People’s Board of Governors,” illustrating what an education run by and for the people would look like.

Despite its success, we felt that the model of the NC Defend Education Coalition, primarily based on holding large mobilizations wasn’t, enough to push back the ongoing and intensifying attacks on public education and services. We wanted to find a way to more effectively dig in on campuses, develop the leadership of student organizers, educate and build a movement that could take on the challenges that face us.

In the summer of 2012, some of our organizers traveled to Ohio for the National Student Power Convergence that brought together hundreds of student activists from across the U.S. Inspired by the historic student uprisings rippling across the globe, this conference put forward a new vision for student organizing in the U.S.—building student power.

At a statewide meeting that same summer, we decided to change our name to the NC Student Power Union and adopted a long-term strategy of building unions. These unions would do what student governments do not and could never do: organize students on campuses to act collectively in their own interest and take power back from administrators and the corporate interests that they represent.

We know these unions won’t be built overnight, and that it may take many years until we are able to more fully develop them. In the present, we are working to build progressive coalitions on the UNC–system campuses that can bring together both organized and unorganized sectors to take up struggles, as well as acting collectively around statewide campaigns.

Our work to build the NC Student Power Union has only just begun, and though we know that the people of North Carolina will be faced with many challenges on the road ahead, we are more confident than ever before that a powerful, united movement can be built to win the real change we need.[3]

References