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April 21, 2024

Students organize protest in opposition to violence in Palestine

By MAYA BRITTO | March 13, 2024



Students held handpainted signs that called for the liberation of Palestine.

A demonstration in solidarity with Palestine took place on Monday, March 11. Around 20 students convened in front of the Beach on North Charles Street to protest the ongoing violence in Gaza. The protest was organized by Hopkins Students for Palestine and involved students from various groups on campus, including Speak Out Now and the Hopkins Justice Collective.

According to the flyer, the protesters’ official demand is for the University to divest from companies that supply the Israeli armed forces, such as Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

Lucas Seitz Miller, a senior and organizer of the protest, described why it was so important to organize this event at this time in an interview with The News-Letter.

“We felt like activity surrounding what Israel is doing in Gaza had died down so much, in a way that’s very frustrating,” he said. “People get very invigorated about an issue and then have short attention spans or get tired. The only way to counter that is to keep an issue in people’s attention. That was the goal of this event.”

The protestors held colorful, handpainted signs with slogans like “From the River to the Sea” painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag. They gathered around a speaker and took turns passing around the microphone, some leading chants, others making speeches. 

The event began with a speech by graduate student Marisa Thomas, who helped organize the demonstration. She discussed the importance of Hopkins students using their voices to speak out against the crisis in Gaza. 

“We still have our lives, while millions of Palestinians in Gaza are facing an existential threat. It's time for us, especially those of us who are Hopkins students at Homewood Campus, to be consistent and loud in our activism,” she said. 

Following the speeches, the protestors chanted several slogans, including “Money for jobs and education, not for war and occupation” and “Ronny Daniels, you can’t hide, you’re supporting genocide.”

Towards the end of the event, junior Emesa Melki recited a poem to express the hope she has for the people of Gaza and their future. In an interview with The News-Letter, Melki spoke about her hopes for the Hopkins community in regards to support for Palestine. 

“I’m hoping that over time, campus will become a more accepting place for such events, like protests and walk-outs in support of Palestine, and that more people will start coming to these events and organizing,” she said.

Melki, who is Lebanese, further stressed the importance of paying attention to the issue regardless of one’s cultural background. 

“I think anybody who’s human should care about this issue. The issue of Palestinian liberation is an issue that is connected to liberation of all peoples,” she said. 

Before the protestors dispersed, organizers encouraged all attendees to participate in future demonstrations and keep themselves informed on the conflict. Miller described the importance of continuing to put Palestine at the forefront of student minds. 

“The more you are exposed to it, the more emotionally unavoidable it becomes,” he said. “If you are having to avoid reading about all of these things that are happening in the world just so you can feel okay — that is a sign of how not okay the world is.”

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