Spring Semester Brings a New Coordinator and a New Campaign

Hello, everyone! My name is Daniel Davis. It's been a little over a month since I took over the role of Coordinator for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s college program, SPLC on Campus. Though the program is still relatively young, we have exciting plans for a new campaign, partnerships with other organizations, general expansion, and a focus on organizing student activists in the midst of the repeated normalization of the so-called Alt-Right and their actions held around the country.

Born in Montgomery, Alabama, I have seen firsthand what systemic oppression looks like and what it means to stand against such oppression in the pursuit of justice and equality. I spent several years in high school and college working at the SPLC’s Civil Rights Memorial Center, where there is a particular emphasis on educating the public about the martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement with the understanding that the march for justice continues.

In 2013, I graduated from Huntingdon College with a Bachelor’s in Religion, and I have studied abroad in Heidelberg, Germany, and at Yale Divinity School in New Haven to attain a Masters in the Arts of Religion.  Liberation theology was just one of the various subjects I studied throughout those years, but it has had a tremendous impact on the way I view social justice and privilege in American culture.

Last year’s SPLC on Campus campaign, #RegisterShowUpVote2016, inspired people both to help register new voters and get out the vote. Many new people were registered to vote by our club members, and the SPLC documentary, Selma: Bridge to the Ballot, educated people on the importance of voting and the amount of hard work it took to secure voting rights for many in the United States. I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce our newest campaign, #WhatDemocracyLooksLike.

Inspired by the well-known protest chant, #WhatDemocracyLooksLike is a response to the rampant racism, xenophobia, and other prejudices that have been increasingly pervading political discourse since the beginning of the 2016 Presidential Election. This campaign not only acknowledges the diversity of the electorate but also seeks to emphasize the importance of protest and activism as valid, necessary forms of political expression for progressives everywhere. In addition, SPLC on Campus will use this campaign to address voter suppression as an extreme threat to democracy in the United States.

We've seen the power of mass organizing in the Women’s March last weekend, and we've seen political campaigns and local movements driven by the passion of young activists and grassroots action. As an emboldened Alt-Right is already expanding their speaking tours and recruitment on college campuses, now is the time for us to rise up together to fight against hate and work together for the cause of justice. I look forward to being a part of this movement with you.

Additionally, if you are interested in starting an SPLC on Campus club at your college/university or wish to get involved in our latest campaign, feel free to register on our website or contact me at daniel.davis@splcenter.org.