Productive Activism Emphasized At Pre-Walkout Student Forum


Students attentively listen to Kosiba’s lecture on the keys of effective activism. Photo by Adisa Ozegovic.

By Adisa Ozegovic, Staff Writer

A “Keys to Effective Activism and Disobedience” training lecture was presented by Humanities instructor Daniel Kosiba to a group of around 30 students as well as several faculty members in the Student Commons after school on Wed., Feb. 28.

The presentation was mainly comprised of Kosiba’s specific six steps of activism, some of which included the clear development and articulation of the cause’s mission and the roles of everyone involved. Along with that, the meeting provided students with a space to organize and plan for the upcoming student-led walkout, which will take place on Wed., March 14, following another, less organized student walkout last week.

The lecture portion was conducted with the primary intention of providing students with “knowledge and historically proven strategies necessary for activism and acts of civil disobedience to be effective,” as stated by Kosiba’s presentation slides.

“I’m not here to focus on a specific action that we are going to take,” Kosiba said, speaking to the students who attended the meeting. “I am going to teach you strategies that have been used successfully throughout history, and hopefully, you can use those strategies in whatever causes that you seek to advocate for in the future. My goal is to give you strategies that have been proven effective, and then you choose how you want to use those strategies.”

Before the presentation began, Niles West principal Jason Ness addressed the students, emphasizing the importance of the march being student-led. He also highlighted the administration’s support of students’ right to protest, though not of either political action or side.

“This is a very student-led program. The last couple of weeks, both nationally and locally, have been a little bit crazy,” Ness said. “I get emails over the weekend from parents [asking, ‘how] do you give consent?’ or ‘how do you encourage [students]?’ ‘You’re supporting this side of the aisle, you’re supporting this candidate, you’re supporting this amendment, you’re not supporting this.’ Let me be clear, I’m not supporting one thing or another. I’m supporting you [students] and your right [to engage in] civil disobedience. I neither encourage nor discourage that, but as students, you have that right.”

According to Feminism Club co-president and senior Simone Perrin, the lecture was a successful method for guiding the inexperienced students on how to effectively plan for any social activism cause.

“I think the meeting went phenomenally well,” Perrin said. “[Kosiba] did an awesome job informing students about all of the hard work that goes into planning an event that is successful, which I think was an important push for us to start planning the walkout. It’s important that he presented us with information because this is something lots of us have never organized or even been involved in, so we needed guidance, especially since this is something students are in charge of.”

Following the presentation, students were given the opportunity to meet together and begin their organization of the upcoming walkout using the strategies provided. The meeting continued on for another hour with student preparation for their next meeting, the creation of a mission statement, and planning of a set route for the walkout.

Though it will be a challenge to plan such an event in merely a few weeks, Perrin believes that the organizers can pull it off.

“It won’t be easy to plan this in two weeks, but all of the individuals who were at the meeting are up for the challenge if we are going to spark some change,” Perrin said.