By Ülvi Gitaliyev and Lily Barnette
This week The Berea Torch talked with B.R.A.I.D., which stands for Building Revolution, Anti-Imperialism, & Dissent, which is one of the most active clubs in Berea College. B.R.A.I.D. meets at the Bell Hooks Center every Sunday at 1 p.m. and the meetings usually last two hours. There is also an optional book reading afterward where the club discusses and analyzes revolutionary texts.
The main purpose of B.R.A.I.D is to organize students against all forms of discrimination, war, and to promote political activism with students on campus. They organize movie showings, protests, and other revolutionary events. Some of the events they have orchestrated are the Body Autonomy Walkout, Every Day is Earth Day and the club worked with the Madison County Tenants Union to educate on canvassing and rental assistance, along with having skill training.
When asked about the creation of B.R.A.I.D., officer J.J. Kiboi gave some insight. “When I was a freshman here at Berea College, I was one of the first members of B.R.A.I.D. and it started out as, actually, Building Revolution, Anti-Imperialism & Democracy, rather than Dissent. We used the term “democracy” as an umbrella term. We were originally a book club. The seniors organized and created B.R.A.I.D. to read revolutionary text and to think critically and learn and grow as future organizers.”
Tyrell Banks, the president of B.R.A.I.D. added onto this by saying, “J.J. explained the beginnings but B.R.A.I.D. keeps going. It started when I came here in the Fall of 2019. I started Socialists of Berea which was like B.R.A.I.D.’s sister club. We were both focused on political education and political action. After a couple of months, unfortunately, Socialists of Berea had to dissolve because we couldn’t find another advisor. You know, it is hard to find an advisor when you are so radical. So we joined in with B.R.A.I.D. and ever since, we kind of formed those combined values of political education, political agitation, and political action.”
When asked about who B.R.A.I.D is for, Tyrell Banks, had this to say “B.R.A.I.D. is for people who are interested in educating themselves politically, wants to get involved politically, and organizing themselves politically. There is a heavy influence on political education here because this is a space for people to grow and advance their consciousness, but we are really for anyone who wants to participate in the struggle.” B.R.A.I.D. does not require anyone to have knowledge on activism, leftness, progressivism, etc. to join and they are very open to discussing a large variety of topics in leftism!