HBCU Students Advocate for Ceasefire and Solidarity with Palestine Amid Israel-Hamas Conflict
In the wake of the Israel-Hamas conflict, students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the United States are taking a stand in support of the Free Palestine movement and calling for an immediate ceasefire. These HBCU students are working together to organize protests, class walkouts, and resource drives to raise awareness about the ongoing violence and oppression in Palestine.
Rokiyah Darbo, a sophomore at Spelman College in Atlanta, led a rally in Centennial Olympic Park with over 1,500 supporters. Darbo emphasized the importance of standing together as people of color to combat systemic white supremacy and spread awareness about the plight of Palestinians.
Other HBCUs, such as North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, have also joined the cause. Ziora Ajeroh, a senior sociology student at North Carolina A&T, started the Dissenters chapter on campus, an anti-war youth organization that aims to show solidarity with Palestinians. Ajeroh highlights the shared experience of violence among Black people and expresses a duty to stand up for others facing violence.
The Dissenters chapters at various HBCUs, including Xavier University of Louisiana and Hampton University, organized a national college student walkout to call for a Gaza ceasefire. They also urged universities to divest from companies that sell weapons to Israel. Over 100 campuses participated, with North Carolina A&T hosting a gathering of more than 50 students at the campus Reflection pool.
Ajeroh emphasizes the importance of open discussions about the Israeli occupation of Palestine, Black solidarity with Palestine, and the struggles faced by colonized people. The Dissenters chapter at North Carolina A&T is also working with Mother Being Clinic to collect menstruation products for Palestinians.
The Israeli government’s recent offensive has been devastating to the Palestinian people, with more than 11,000 deaths and 28,000 injuries or missing individuals. Darbo expresses frustration with the global community’s lack of action and calls for continued support.
HBCU students, including those from Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, and Morris Brown College, are planning to collaborate on fundraising efforts and organizing rallies and open discussions to confront the Israel-Hamas war.
While some HBCUs, such as Howard University in D.C., have publicly expressed their prayers for peace and an end to the conflict, students at Howard believe that the response lacks a strong stance against the injustices occurring in Palestine. Rodney Smith, a doctoral student at Howard, criticizes the university’s delayed and lackluster response and calls for more substantial action.
In general, students at HBCUs believe that some institutions are hesitant to take a clear stand due to their investments in structures like capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism. However, these students remain resolute in their support for Palestine and their commitment to raising awareness about the ongoing crisis.
As HBCU students continue to advocate for Palestine, they are urging their universities to respond to the war and support their organizing efforts. The HBCUs, including North Carolina A&T and Spelman, have not yet provided public statements regarding their students’ activism.
In conclusion, HBCU students are leading the charge in advocating for a ceasefire and showing solidarity with the Palestinian people amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. They are utilizing protests, class walkouts, and resource drives to raise awareness about the plight of Palestinians and calling for action from their universities and the global community.