Anti-Racist Action, a newly formed student group, will create a game plan for its “counter-protesting” crusade when it meets for the first time Wednesday night in the Marvin Center.
Part of an international organization with chapters in Belize, Canada, Columbia and the United States, the group is the first solely anti-racist group in recent GW history, members said.
“Racism won’t go away by ignoring it,” said freshman Jeff Becker, the group’s primary organizer. “ARA is a way of bringing it out into the open and confronting it.”
While every chapter of ARA is autonomous, the chapters follow a set of principles called “The Four Principles of Unity,” devised by its national organization.
The first principle calls for the group to confront racists and fascists who are active in public, in addition to stopping the groups from recruiting new members.
ARA does not rely on police or the courts to do its work or aid in its protection, according to its second principle.
Third, despite possible political differences, ARA defends and supports other anti-racist and anti-fascist groups.
ARA’s fourth principle advocates building a broad movement against racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of discrimination.
Becker said ARA is necessary at GW.
“There is no open racist movement (in D.C.) . we need to plant the seeds that will prevent such a movement from ever occurring,” he said.
He and other group organizers said they already have plans for the group. The group is planning a trip to Philadelphia to join other activists at a demonstration for Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther and journalist who is on death row after being convicted of killing a police officer.
Becker said he plans a local community cleanup of racist graffiti. The group invites anyone interested to lend support.
“There are elements in our society that prey on the weak,” he said. “There is a need in the community to say that such discrimination is wrong.”
The group will hold its first meeting at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the fourth-floor lobby of the Marvin Center.
This article appeared in the March 8, 1999 issue of the Hatchet.