Students for Justice in Palestine: a new org at JCU

Students for Justice in Palestine is a new student organization at John Carroll dedicated to educating and raising awareness on the injustices and human rights violations that Palestinians endure under Israeli occupation. We advocate for non-violent initiatives to end the occupation in Palestine. Our goal as a club is to create a safe place for education, discussion, activism and solidarity in regard to addressing the misrepresented Palestinian people. The main purpose of the club is to cultivate deep relations with other students on campus who are allies with this movement as well as share a joint struggle whether on a national or international level. The club aims to use our values of freedom, equality, safety and historical justice to create a grassroots movement of solidarity and liberation. SJP is also a means to share and celebrate Palestinian culture with everyone on campus, from the delicious food to the best traditional dances.

For so long, Palestinians have been misrepresented in the media and have had their voice stripped away from them. This club gives Palestinians a platform to stand up for a cause that affects millions of Palestinians every single day. It is crucial as Americans, and citizens of the world, to listen and try to understand a new perspective that lives on campus.

Nov. 11: The first meeting for Students for Justice in Palestine — students viewed a film called “The Present” which explored a variety of daily issues that Palestinians face under military rule and occupation. (Gia Hamed)

Our main goal for this organization is simply to start a conversation that many people might have never had; it is the first step in creating any kind of change. Whenever we talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we rarely see it from a human point of view and that is exactly what we are all about. We want to emphasize the human rights aspect of what is happening and what this conflict means for Palestinians. This isn’t about religion or politics or us vs. them—it’s a human cause. We all just want peace, and peace comes from a place of understanding. We have to work together, especially as youth, to start a new kind of conversation.
On Nov. 11, we hosted our first event on campus. There was a brief presentation on what SJP stands for: justice, equality, human rights, solidarity and activism for the Palestinian people, as well as a 20-minute short filmed called “The Present”. This film by Farah Nabulsi explored a variety of daily issues that Palestinians face under military rule and occupation. Nabulsi depicted a very real and raw representation of what it means to be Palestinian and the struggle of completing simple everyday tasks. The film explores themes of humiliation, loss of dignity, checkpoints and security.
With 50 people showing up to the screening, the event was a huge success. One attendee provided a reflection: “There is a lot that I am learning that I didn’t previously know or try to look into because I never felt too connected to the issue. This changed. I think this club will help me learn a new perspective on a very important social justice issue.”
On Nov. 30th, we had our second event of the semester, “It’s not that complicated.” We had a presentation which broke down the history of Palestine from 1917-1948. Whenever people think of the Middle East, specifically Palestine, people often shy away and avoid it because it is “too complicated”. We gave JCU students the opportunity to learn something new and learn more about the struggle of the Palestinian people. We also provided fantastic authentic Middle Eastern food and free olive oil for all attendees.
The struggle for a just and free Palestine also means cultivating a resistance alongside the fight against white supremacy, antisemitism, Islamophobia, sexism, imperialism, homophobia and all other means of oppressing marginalized people. We really do believe many people are able to relate and understand the Palestinian struggle — all that’s needed is a platform and space for people to learn, which is exactly what we aim to provide. We hope to create a safe place for discussion, solidarity and activism, uniting all as one.