Local group tackles diversity issues — and much more

By Damon Krane
April 11, 2005
Athens News

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While a well-written piece overall, an April 4 article on an anti-war event organized by InterAct contained one piece of incorrect information. InterAct was not formed in 2003 “to tackle diversity issues,” but rather to tackle a diversity of issues related to the U.S. invasion of Iraq and other injustices.

True, InterAct has worked to increase racial diversity at OU. We’ve partnered with The Community and HipHop Congress to hold last year’s Progressive Action Week, and we are currently producing a public-access television show on OU’s low rates of recruitment and retention of African-American students. We’ve also worked to protect the civil rights of LGBT people by campaigning against Ohio’s Issue 1 amendment and to reduce homophobia on campus. And as a co-sponsor of Take Back the Night Week, InterAct will be holding documentary screenings and skill-building workshops on feminist activism and organizing men’s support activities for the march.

Additionally, InterAct has partnered with Rural Action to educate out-of-town students on the roots of Appalachian poverty. We’ve highlighted the government’s support for Israeli human-rights abuses by bringing in acclaimed Palestinian-American journalist Ali Abunimah and hosting workshops with local activist Art Gish. We’ve worked to increase the visibility of American opposition to the Bush agenda by sending InterAct members to protest at the Republican National Convention and organizing a bus trip to protests at the presidential inauguration. Our most recent campaign is focused on delivering a crushing defeat to Ohio Senate Bill 24 — Ohio’s incarnation of David Horowitz’s national campaign to turn higher education into state-controlled indoctrination in right-wing ideology.

Throughout it all, we’ve provided a local alternative to right-wing corporate media by producing a monthly newsletter, The InterActivist, and a weekly public-access television show called “Left Out.” And through it all, InterAct has continued the work of its predecessor, Students Against the War, by organizing ongoing resistance to the war on Iraq.

Meanwhile, InterAct strives to build an alliance of local organizations committed to building a fairer and more democratic society. In addition to partnering with other organizations on past projects, InterAct members are serving as liaisons to other local groups, attending their meetings, sharing information, and looking for opportunities to work together in pursuit of our common goals.

With about 25 active members, 200 supporters, and research underway on turning InterAct into a formal non-profit organization with access to grant funding, InterAct plans to be doing more of this work for a long time to come.

If you’re committed to turning the tide in America, please join us. Our meetings are open to all local progressives — not just students! Just swing by Baker Center room 332 on any Thursday at 6 p.m. or e-mail interactathens@****.com for further information.

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