Student activist and poet leads at EMU

Student activist Darius Simpson was motivated during his high school years to effect the spaces he enters in a positive manner that will in turn make them more beautiful than before he entered; his goal is to remove the roadblocks he faces to prevent others that follow from enduring the same obstacles.

His work continued at Eastern Michigan University after connecting with other minorities that shared his exhaustion with the current society. Simpson is a 24-year-old African American male. He began attending EMU because it was close enough to visit his hometown of Akron, Ohio but far enough to get away.

“Darius Simpson was an all-around excellent student. He is an energetic, highly motivated, well-read, brave, and gregarious person,” said Simpson's mentor Melvin Peters. “He is an inquisitive critical thinker and researcher who possesses a genuinely intellectual temperament.”

Simpson was originally a psych major and transitioned to political science after a civil rights and liberties course introduced him to more critical ways of understanding policy change, law and politics in the world around him.

He is a radical believer in change with goals to use his knowledge to influence policy change and to assist other minorities in navigating through the system.

“I think what makes him a good leader is his courage,” said Daryl Holman, Simpson’s friend. “The courage that it takes to be your true self in some situations is often the same courage you need to stand up for what is right despite the consequences that come along with it."

During his freshman year following the killing of Trayvon Martin, Simpson attended his first rally. At the second demonstration he attended that followed the killing of Demarius Reed he began his tradition of playing his drum. Now patrons at demonstrations and beyond notice him as the guy with the drum and Simpson says the drum is a “necessity."

“The ways in which Darius Simpson has contributed to the well-being of the politically progressive and the artistic community at Eastern Michigan University forecast his abilities to make future impacts for society at large,” said Peters.

Simpson has actively been a part of student-led movements that advocate for change on campus. One example is the Black Student 10 Point plan.

“My intent behind being apart of the Black Student 10 Point Plan and other initiatives was I went through this so people that come after me should not have to go through this,” said Simpson. “There is a way that we can get through this because I see a problem, then I am telling you what the problem is so we can fix it.”

Simpson plans to continue to direct action in addition to writing and performing poetry. Poetry has been a passion of his since the 4th grade when his mom began to encourage him to write. Later in life he began to write poetry as an outlet for when he became upset or needed to make sense of the world around him.

He began performing poetry when he joined Poetry Society, an organization at EMU. He credits the organization for elevating his skills and keeping him on the track through college. His inspiration and motivation is a combination of being black and understanding what black people represent that lived before him.

“I want my work to speak for me, rather that be a direct action like a protest or it be my written body of work and my words," said Simpson. "I want it to be about action. My poems speak for them self and the action speaks for itself.” 

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