UCA YDS Builds Community Center

The University of Central Arkansas Young Democratic Socialists have been working on organizing a public center with the help of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church of Conway and various community members and grassroots organizations. The location, named the Bayard Rustin Social Justice Center (with the blessing of the Rustin Estate), is now open and operating six days a week. It’s a free public library, food pantry, ‘zine distribution center, free tutoring center for high school and middle school students, and community education center run by volunteers.

We’ll soon be organizing monthly art expositions and concerts as well as weekly workshops on anything between t-shirt screen printing, history, economics, bicycle repair, to drawing/painting techniques, and anything that anybody else wants to talk about. It’s also a safe meeting place for local unions, GLBTQ advocacy groups, and community activist organizations.

Currently, we’re planning a bike collection drive and food benefit concert and we’re having our first workshop this Friday, entitled Factor 8: The Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal. Kelly Duda, the documentary film maker, will do a Q&A afterwards.

In the long-term, we hope to start a DSA chapter and use the cooperative as a southern local office and internal education and coordination center. We’ve still got a long way to go in organizing, and we most definitely need assistance in bringing the center to it’s full potential. Don’t think that if you don’t live in Arkansas, you can’t do anything to help. We’re working at organizing a national ‘zine distribution network with centers in Louisiana, New York, D.C., and Seattle. If you have any poetry, political or cultural observations, journals, recipes, erotica, rants, drawings, etc….compile them, photocopy them and staple ‘em into a little pamphlet/book, and send them on over. We’ll put them on display and do our best to distribute them. If you have any radical books that you’d like to donate, mail them. If you are an artist or sculptor, we can display your work and sell it…sending the proceeds to you since there is no overhead cost in the operation or maintenance of the center. We also accept gift cards. All books will be shelved and catalogued and loaned out free-of cost to people young and old, rich and poor in the area.

Email Kenny Grand at kgrand3@… for our book wishlist, or snail mail us ‘zines, art, books, gift cards, etc. to:

Bayard Rustin Social Justice Center
C/O Kenny Grand or Noel Camara
119 Oaklawn Dr.
Conway, AR 72034

Kenny Grand is a member of the YDS Coordinating Committee from Conway, Arkansas.

Be the first to comment

Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump

February 17, 2017 · $20.00 USD

Location: MayDay Space
Where: 176 St Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
When: Friday, February 17th at 6 PM to Sunday, February 19th to 4 PM

Political Context

This Presidents’ Day weekend, the Young Democratic Socialists will gather for our annual winter conference in New York City titled Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump. We did not choose the name lightly. In doing so, we call for leftists to collectively confront Trump and Trumpism at every possible opportunity. When a Trump administration attempts mass deportations of undocumented workers, when it attempts to register Muslims or roll back worker protections, when it attempts to take away reproductive, LGTBQ, civil, or any other rights, then we must militantly resist to prevent such measures.

To succeed, this must be explicitly socialist resistance. With liberalism having repeatedly shown itself incapable of combating the far right, it is now the time for socialists to openly declare our place in building the mass, multi-racial, and working class movement necessary for defeating the Trump administration. In this struggle, millennials will play an outsized role. That is why this conference comes at such a critical time—together we must create spaces for democratic and strategic discussion, spaces to gain organizing skills, and most importantly, spaces to form networks of young radicals for the future struggles ahead. These spaces will only come together if socialists come together. Join us this Presidents Weekend and help ignite the movement to defeat the Trump administration, continue the political revolution, and build the socialist alternative.

Key Deadlines

  • January 8th: Travel Scholarship for Air Travel (for application see below)
  • January 15th: Travel Scholarship for Non-Air Travel (ex: bus, car, train, etc.)
  • February 3rd: Early Bird Registration Ends - Tickets prices go up from $5 to $10
  • February 10th: Free Housing - We have limited free housing. You need to first register, then you will be sent an application for free housing.

Apply for a travel scholarship here! (First Deadline January 8, 2017)

Check out the working program (subject to change)