Nine members of SDS took a bus to New York City to attend the march and rally protesting police brutality. The students who attended the event arrived in New York Saturday morning and helped set up banners for the march. The event featured a rally where various religious leaders, family members of the victims of police brutality and notable public figures such as Cornell West, Chris Hedges and Quentin Tarantino spoke about the movement.
Sophomore Ben Wallis, who helped organize the event, says the students in attendance paid a $140 fee. This fee was raised through a combination of fundraising, donations or out of students’ own pockets. Wallis says some professors donated money to the trip. Wallis also says the group will continue to raise money to reimburse students who paid for the trip.
“As [Rise Up October] approached, the Stop Mass Incarceration [group] and Revolutionary Communist Party was basically saying, just get on the bus, we want people to come and price doesn’t matter,” Wallis says.
Wallis says they walked for the entirety of the march and met people from all walks of life. Wallis says he wasn’t sure how many people attended the march because media numbers have varied, but he says he thought there were thousands who were in attendance. He says both young and old people attended the event and there was a good energy at the march.
“It was a powerful experience.” Wallis says. “Everyone was very serious … I thought that everyone was very committed to making sure this got through.”
Junior Trista Sullivan says SDS became aware of the Rise Up October event through a member’s connection with the Revolutionary Communist Party.
“It was an issue that resonated with all us,” Sullivan says. “Especially since Ferguson is close to home for a lot of us and police brutality has become a very visible issue in our nation these last few years.”