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Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Nation

‘Stand up’: SGA president calls on UH students to support black community as George Floyd protests continue


National protests over George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody spread to Houston on Friday and Saturday. At least 30 cities across the country have seen demonstrations. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

National protests over George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody spread to Houston on Friday and Saturday. At least 30 cities across the country have seen similar demonstrations. | Mikol Kindle Jr./The Cougar

The Student Government Association President Jasmine Khademakbari mourned the death of George Floyd and called for students to advocate against racism in a Saturday statement as protests over police brutality continue. 

Khademakbari told The Cougar she and the SGA are working on developing legislation that outlines what students can do to support the Black Lives Matter movement, which has again been pushed into the national spotlight after Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody on Monday. The legislation will be voted on by the senate on Wednesday.

“A lot of people have trouble knowing what to do, how to be good allies, and because of that we wanted to compile a list of resources people can (use),” Khademakbari said. “It’s going to pretty much state that the UH SGA condemns these racial acts of hatred and violence that have perpetuated our society.”

In the resolution’s call to action, Khademakbari plans on supporting protests and demonstrations, signing petitions and making donations. Additionally, the resolution will encourage students to educate themselves and the student body. 

Khademakbari advocated for students to fight racism within their own communities and themselves before taking the steps to sign petitions and make donations.

Sharing how she is both Middle Eastern and Mexican American, Khademakbari emphasized the importance of advocating against anti-blackness in other minority communities. 

“If we really do want to fight systematic racism and police brutality and violence against black people, the first thing you have to do is to stand up for black people in your own communities,” Khademakbari said. “(If) you see anti-blackness in the Latinx community, it is your responsibility to go and tell people that this isn’t okay.”

The SGA president said she also wants to uplift the black community in Third Ward, where Floyd once called home and UH is located. One way she plans to do this is by advocating against gentrification in the Third Ward.

“What SGA does beyond just this resolution is going and trying to see what we can do to make sure that we are supporting the Third Ward community as well,” she said. “And that we’re not just uplifting black voices within the University of Houston, but we’re going actually into the community.”

Going out into the community and protesting, Khademmakbari said, as well as standing in solidarity with the black community is one way students can make a change. 

“I really don’t think that utilizing social media is enough,” Khademakbari said. “I think we’ve passed the point where you can just use a hashtag on social media and think that it does anything at all.”

The University also made a statement on Twitter regarding Floyd’s death and the aftermath. 

George Floyd was a member of our Third Ward community and we share in the tremendous pain our community is experiencing. Our thoughts are with his friends and family, Houston and the nation at large. We mourn with you,” the tweet read.

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