Marie Osuna – Staff Writer
Student activism is a pervasive theme in history, and is also the topic of this year’s MAYDAY! Peace Conference. The conference, which is set to take place on Wednesday, April 28, will feature Jaclyn Corin.
Corin became an activist against gun violence after surviving the largest school shooting in American History at Majory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The 2018 shooting took the lives of 17 students and faculty.
Less than a week after the shooting, Corin and one hundred of her classmates went on a lobbying trip to their state capital, and she quickly became a leading organizer of March for Our Lives.
Corin’s presentation, “Engage in the Change: Mobilizing a Generation to Protest,” will be available to watch online via Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook.
“I believe students will particularly connect with Jaclyn Corin, who will be talking about the need to mobilize, protest, and work for change,” Barb Larson Taylor, Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communication, said. “Unfortunately, gun violence and mass shootings continue to occur in this county, which makes her speech immediately relevant. She is an advocate against gun violence and speaks more broadly about issues of social justice and the need for people to become engaged in making changes to improve their communities.”
The lunchtime session of MAYDAY! will feature a presentation by Dr. Greg Kaster, Professor in History and African Studies, titled “Kent, Parkland, and the History fo Social-Justice Student Activism in the United States.”
“My talk will emphasize the long, pervasive, and varied history of student activism in the US, including among high school students. While I will speak about Kent State, I will also highlight lesser-known instances of student activism for social justice in the United States having nothing to do with the antiwar movement of the 1960s, which is what so often comes to mind when we think of student activism, including the Lane Seminary debates over slavery in the 1830s and the walkout by Latinx high-school students in Los Angeles in 1968,” Kaster said.
The theme of activism is especially timely, as 2020 was the fiftieth anniversary of the Kent State Shootings which took place on May 4, 1970. The planners of MAYDAY! didn’t want to focus on the shooting itself, but the student work that took place afterward.
“Gustavus itself has seen its share of such activism‒for example, Black students demanding a course in Black history, the anti-apartheid divestment movement of the 1980s and 90s, and, currently, efforts to mitigate climate change by, among other things, reducing Gustavus’s carbon footprint,” Kaster said.
Both speakers will be presenting live, and will be taking questions from the audience following their presentations.
“We hope people take the time to watch the sessions and leave inspired to work for peace and justice for all people,” Taylor said.
Gustavus will be following an adjusted class schedule so students and professors can attend Corin’s presentation.
More information, including links to the livestream, can be found at gustavus.edu/events/mayday.