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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Hannah Jenkins
Hannah Jenkins
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Hi! My name is Hannah Jenkins, and I am one of the copy editors here at the North Wind. I am a sophomore at NMU, and I love all things writing and editing-related. I am proud to be a part of this great...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

NMU CARES — President Brock Tessman shares his feelings on the universitys new CARE Team. Photo Courtesy of Northern Michigan University
Letter to the Editor — Our New CARE Team
Brock Tessman February 23, 2024

Nonprofit seeks to lift voices of marginalized in Marquette

Picture+of+protesters+on+street.
Justin Van’t Hof/NW STANDING FOR PEACE: Fred Sims one of the co-founders of the non-profit Social Justice for Us is leading a group of peaceful protesters in chants against police brutality. The group has organized a number of peaceful protests focusing on systemic issues facing BIPOC and LGBTQIA in the United States.

The Black Lives Matter movement has brought waves of peaceful protests across the nation including in the Upper Peninsula. Facebook has been a platform used by many social movements because of the social media’s ability to reach large groups of people in ways never before possible. One of the groups that have been organizing online using a Facebook group is Social Justice for Us.

Social Justice for Us is a nonprofit organization with the goal of lifting the voices of marginalized people in Marquette. The group has organized many peaceful protests and other events throughout the city. The protests follow the Black Lives Matter movement, protesting police violence and promoting awareness of racial injustices in the community.

The organization has been active and organizing events since May 2020 and earned its nonprofit status on June 30th. Some of these events have been marches through Washington Street and inviting public speakers to educate attendees about their own experiences with racial injustices. 

 “Overall, our main goal is to promote awareness and to educate the community that we’re in while also lifting the BIPOC and the LGBTQIA community. Overall, as long as we’re able to say ‘Hey we’re here’ but you can also take the time to understand what we’ve been through, get our perspective and then from there we can move on together as one,” said Fred Sims, one of the group’s founders.

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Sims is an NMU Alumni and organizer for the Social Justice for Us group. The first protests that he attended and organized were for this movement in Marquette and he has been an active contributor to the communities that he has lived in since he was a teenager. Sims served on a youth board for a local community center in Detroit, acting as both a youth mentor and a mentee in the program growing up. He said that being able to mentor those younger than him in his community was a humbling and rewarding experience. 

“The whole goal is to protest until there is a worldwide trend, and until there is I don’t think we’re going to slow down,” said Fred Sims. “We were originally going to do it every single day but we decided to do it for five days now.”

Sims also explained that Social Justice for Us will continue its efforts in venues other than protests, describing the upcoming Safe Space Pledge Campaign and Systemic Issues on Tap series. These events are designed to be welcoming and educational for the community to understand the organization’s goals.

The Safe Space Pledge Campaign is a campaign run by Social Justice for Us in collaboration with many of Marquette’s local businesses. Businesses that have been approached by the organization and take the pledge will undergo racial bias training to benefit the employees, customers, and community. The purpose of this pledge is to educate the public of businesses that provide a safe space for anyone who may be feeling unsafe or racially attacked, said Sims.

Systemic Issues on Tap is an ongoing series partnered with the Science on Tap event at the Ore Dock Brewing Company. The series will begin September 20, and plans to address the many systemic issues facing the United States today.

Jacob Darner is a former NMU student and member of Social Justice for Us. In addition to holding the position as Director of Donations for Social Justice for Us, Darner has also recently become Event Coordinator for the organization.

“We’ve been doing our utmost to be really official, really by the books. We’ve got all our records down and we’ve got an amazing group of people as well that are just super committed,” said Darner.

Darner described how his experience at Northern helped shape his knowledge and perspective of racism in today’s society.

“You hear it a lot; One of the best tools to combat ignorance is learning about other cultures and learning from a different perspective and I think that really rings true,” said Darner.

The protests and events organized by Social Justice for Us are attended by a diverse group of Marquette community members, said Sims, from teachers to students and military veterans.

“We need to listen better. We need to be more aware of racial inequity in our country. There is so much racism embedded deeply into our culture we don’t even notice because it has been so affirmed by our society over the years. It’s not enough to not support racism, you have to be against racism,” said Sophie Sam, current NMU student who attended a protest for Social Justice for Us.

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