SCCA creates community, change

Attendance has more than doubled in the past two weeks.
The Student Coalition for Critical Action at MU encouraged students to post notes on the statue of Thomas Jefferson starting Oct. 7, 2015, at the Francis Quadrangle to help reveal truths about the famous figure.

Last spring, Reuben Faloughi realized that there wasn’t a space for students to come together and work to create a more inclusive campus.

So Faloughi created that space by starting the Student Coalition for Critical Action, a group unaffiliated with MU.

With all the instances of racism happening on campus in the past month, people are beginning to take notice of SCCA’s cause. The meeting following Homecoming week brought in 23 people, which was more than double the attendance of the meeting the previous week.

“It’s empowering (to see the growth),” Faloughi said. “People are wanting to start to affect change in this environment and that’s exactly what this group was created for. Students want to be a part of that change and this is the place to do it.”

Faloughi said one of the goals of the group is to “create a village” among its members. Over the summer, Faloughi took a drama-based education class and learned several team building techniques. For example, the Oct. 13 meeting began and ended with all the group members organizing themselves into a circle and breathing in unison.

“The breaths we did at the beginning and the end, we only needed one breath, but everyone else was breathing on everyone else’s breath,” Faloughi said. “It’s creating this togetherness that I haven’t seen on this campus. It’s like yeah, we’re different and we have different identities, but we can still be a community.”

The group also focuses on taking action. The SCCA organized the recent #PostYourStateofMind event, in which people took post-it notes and stuck them on the statue of Thomas Jefferson on the Quad. The group wanted to show that Jefferson was not just a president and a founding father but also a slave owner.

“The objective (of the group) is to support, develop and advocate for students,” Faloughi said. “(The meeting) could be seen as supporting students, giving them a space to open up about difficult topics that they can’t talk about during class, to administrators or even their friends. So how can we create that community?”

The mission to create a community that sparks change resonates with many group members. Aliyah Sulaiman, who has been attending SCCA meetings for a month, said the group serves an important purpose.

“We need this space,” Sulaiman said. “This space makes me feel like people trust me. It makes me feel like what I have to say is valid. To sit here and see so many different color faces with so many different backgrounds, and all have the same focus, it makes me feel empowered.”

With all the positive response from members of the group, Faloughi hopes the group continues to grow, even after he leaves the university.

“It’s my hope that the SCCA continues long after I’m gone, long after the people here have graduated, because this institution didn’t get this way in four years, it’s been hundreds of years,” Faloughi said. “It’s going to take a continued, concerted effort to create change.”

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