U. of Oklahoma panel: Student activists ‘stressed,’ sometimes have to ‘fight through tears’

U. of Oklahoma panel: Student activists ‘stressed,’ sometimes have to ‘fight through tears’
OU campus, scene of stress and tears. (Image: University of Oklahoma)

[Ed. – Gee, kids, you should see what it’s like to have to, you know, hold down a job and pay a mortgage.]

What began as a paced panel discussion on student activism, titled “Organizing on College Campuses: A Panel Discussion,” eventually grew into a candid forum where students shared their own adverse personal experiences of being activists at OU. They discussed how many people overlook how difficult it is to actually be a student activist, a position that can even sometimes receive threats from peers.

“I never realized how emotionally draining and stressful this work would be,” said Ariel Ray, a leader of OU’s Brown Collective movement and a senior at OU. …

The transition to raw opinions began with Ayanna Poole, the panel’s featured speaker. Poole was a well-known student activist in Concerned Student 1950 at the University of Missouri during the 2015 protests at the school. …

Poole recalled the week of Jonathan Butler’s hunger protest, saying it was “the most stressful week of my life” and that she “only slept 10 hours that entire week and never went to class.” She and her friends rallied behind the movement with everything they had, fighting through tears if that’s what it took, she said.

“Even if nobody loves us, we love each other, and we’re gonna dismantle some sh** tomorrow,” Poole said, explaining that was the mantra among all of her fellow student activists.

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