Students returned to the University of Connecticut from Washington D.C. this past weekend after marching for Palestine.
The rally was organized by the Palestine Youth Movement organization, a group whose mission it is to move towards liberation and justice for the nation and people of Palestine.
Various UConn students attended this rally, most of whom are in UConn’s Students for Justice in Palestine club.
UConn 2023 alumni, who wanted to be referred to as Layan, was SJP’s social media chair and eventually became the club’s president. She joined current UConn students in Washington D.C.
“We were able to organize buses and transportation to get UConn students to the rally, as we recognize that every single person’s presence counts because mass mobilization is one of our most effective tactics to amplify our voices and shed light on our cause,” Layan said.
Layan stated that this weekend’s rally had more than 400,000 participants, making it the biggest rally for Palestine that the U.S. has seen.
“It was amazing,” Layan said.
Layan described seeing so many people in one place to protest for Palestine as surreal.
“It was so beautiful to see people of all different colors, ethnic backgrounds, religions and identities come together to fight for a common cause,” Layan said. “Black and brown people and all oppressed, marginalized groups across the world know that we are not free until we are all free.”
Current vice president of SJP Nour Alqaddumi heard about the rally through other organizers and social media. They said most of UConn’s SJP board attended.
“The goal of this rally was mass mobilization. It brought people from different states across the U.S. in front of the White House,”Alqaddumi said. “Our allies are growing. Power is truly in the people and the more we are organized and actionable, the more we can make change in a country that has blind support for an apartheid state.”
UConn SJP has posted and protested for Palestine throughout the year. With the Israel-Palestine conflict growing mass media attention in the past few months, the club has been working tirelessly to shift the bias narrative on campus, Alqaddumi explained.
“It is important that us Palestinians and our allies fight against the propaganda that has been plaguing the media,” Alqaddumi said. “We plan on creating content based on UConn’s connection with the war industry that directly affects the Palestinians as well as their biased narrative.”
Although Layan has graduated, she said that she still works closely with UConn SJP to shift the narrative across UConn’s campuses.
“It is imperative that this kind of work continues, because UConn pours thousands of our tuition dollars into the war industry. They are direct enablers of the genocide of Palestinians, and they knowingly, despicably, have aided their murder for the past 75 years,” Layan said. “UConn and the entire administration has blood on their hands, and it is up to them to wash it off. It is up to them to stand on the right side of history.”