Justice for Stolen Lives Protest connects with Kent’s historical activism


Anthony Scilla

Members of SDS march for justice in memory of Tyre Nichols, Keenan Anderson and Manny Paez on Feb. 3, 2023.

Francesca Malinky, Reporter

Students for a Democratic Society connected with Kent State’s historical activism with a march protesting police brutality. The protest was to show solidarity with the families of the recent deaths of Tyre Nichols, Keenan Anderson and Manny Paez, who were killed by police in January.

The march took place Friday afternoon, where students marched from the Lester A. Lefton Esplanade, near Bowman Hall and through The Hub at the Student Center. Students were chanting and carrying signs as they moved through campus.

Nearly five decades following the events on Kent’s campus on May 4, 1970, students are embodying that same activism when it comes to national movements.

Maya Niesz Kutsch, co-chair of SDS, holds a sign she made that says, “JUSTICE CONVICT KILLER COPS!” on Feb. 3, 2023. (Anthony Scilla)

Maya Niesz Kutsch, co-chair president of Students for a Democratic Society, was one of five participants in the march Friday. She is inspired by Kent State’s past, and it has encouraged her to use her voice and be the best activist she can be.

Neisz Kutsch wants to encourage students to use their voices on campus.

“Focusing on national events on campus can show that across the nation we care about what is going on,” Niesz Kutsch said. “We try to feel and remember the history here because people died on this campus using their voices.”

SDS is a historical anti-war and free speech organization with chapters at universities across the nation. Kent’s chapter aims to build change in the university and Kent community.

Lucas Fratianne, media coordinator for SDS, believes showing solidarity around the country will further spread the word and end police brutality.

Fratianne wants to disrupt complacency on campus and let others know that there is a real problem happening nationally. Anyone can participate in activism whether the issue is national or local.

Members of the Kent State University Chapter of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) move along the esplanade in front of Bowman Hall on Feb. 3, 2023. (Anthony Scilla)

“This is a war against U.S. citizens … the same principle as May 4, a disregard for human life,” Fratianne said. “It carries the legacy on and it’s really important to the anti-war movement.”

Friday’s protest was a part of SDS’s National Day of Activism which is chosen by SDS National to have a day/week of activism for major event(s) that took place.

Next, Kent’s chapter is starting to work on activism surrounding national attacks on affirmative action.

SDS holds their meetings in the Kent Student Center every Thursday at 7 p.m. in room 314. Anyone is welcome to join the organization or attend meetings.

Francesca Malinky is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].