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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Unity, drive discussed in Freedom Riders film

SE+instructor+Ruthann+Geer+talks+to+students+about+the+Freedom+Riders+Feb.+16.Bogdan+Sierra+Miranda%2FThe+Collegian
SE instructor Ruthann Geer talks to students about the Freedom Riders Feb. 16.

Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

By Lindsay Norman/ reporter

SE instructor Ruthann Geer talks to students about the Freedom Riders Feb. 16.Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian
SE instructor Ruthann Geer talks to students about the Freedom Riders Feb. 16.
Bogdan Sierra Miranda/The Collegian

SE government instructor Ruthann Geer had students thinking and questioning their thoughts of the Freedom Riders movement while watching the award-winning documentary of the same name. 

“This doesn’t do any good if we know it and not share it with others,” she said. “We are just as guilty by not doing anything about it.”

Geer presented a showing of the Freedom Riders documentary and led an open discussion for SE students Feb. 16.

The film shows activist group members risking their lives because they believed it to be the right thing. A dozen white and black men and women went into the deep South during segregation as a unit and did not back down for any reason, not even for law officials. With the numerous times they were thrown into jail, they gained President John F. Kennedy’s attention.

“Sir, you should know we all signed over our last will,” says Freedom Rider Diane Nash in the film. “We know someone will be killed, but we cannot let violence overcome nonviolence.”

Geer questioned ignorance within the Freedom Riders and King’s absence of joining the group. According to the documentary, King was adamant about abstaining from the group’s journey into Mississippi because of the danger that was awaiting them, saying it could do more harm than good. The activist group pushed on regardless.

As the discussion went on, students were asked how society has pushed against “traditional” values in today’s time. The public now has gay marriage, religious leaders traveling to meet with others and interracial relationships, but racism is still ignored, Geer said.

“How is open racism being ignored back then and still today?” she asked. “What allows this to happen?”

A student suggested people are not willing to fight as the Freedom Riders did.

“We are comfortable knowing we’re comfortable,” the student said.

The Freedom Riders made an impact on the world. People traveled from different countries to meet in Mississippi to be a part of the movement. Although they were all of different colors, cultures and environments, they were still unified. They had a common cause and were moving in that direction. They believed there was something better out there for them, activist Glenda Davis says in the film.

“I think it’s every American’s responsibility, and I only think that some are more conscious of their responsibilities than others,” another activist says.

Geer wanted students to recognize the history and that racism still goes on 50 years later.

“All men are created equal,” she said. “They are not just words. It has to mean something.”

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