Campus, CSU, News

Students host a teach-in about Palestine and Indigenous solidarity

Students for Justice in Palestine, in coordination with other on-campus activism groups, hosted a walkout and teach-in from 12:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m.

The teach-in, titled “People’s University for Palestine,” included several activities for students, including sticker making, printmaking and larger-scale sign making.

There were multiple easy-ups providing shade and makeshift booths for the activities and the California Faculty Association (CFA) was also in attendance, holding large banners that surrounded the sitting students.

Protest coordinators handed out blankets for students to sit on and provided water and food.

The schedule provided on the SJP Instagram included educational guest speakers, dedicated time for printmaking, group discussion, prayer sessions and a movie screening. Protestors did not plan to leave the arts quad for any of these events, excluding the movie.

04/08/24 CSULB: Speakers address the protestors and host teach-ins, providing a space for learning about the history of Palestine and colonization from faculty members.
05/08/24 CSULB: Speakers address the protestors and host teach-ins, providing a space for learning about the history of Palestine and colonization from faculty members.

“We’re not marching to the admin building, we’re staying in one place–we’re not going up and down campus,” Media liaison Pedro Ortega said. “But also, we want to make sure we’re just putting pressure on the administration, on CSU saying we’re still here.”

“We’re not going to have one rally and that’s it. We’re going to keep on pressuring the admin, we’re going to make sure their [protesting students] demands are heard and are met,” Ortega said.

Ortega made it clear that SJP and the protesting students were not participating in an encampment, but will be continuously protesting until the final week of school. An encampment was not in place due to the resources, or lack thereof, available for the demonstrators.

“We came to the conclusion that this is the best we can do,” Ortega said. “Of course, everybody has high hopes for encampment, but as Students for Justice in Palestine, we think this is more beneficial as well, playing a more supportive role to other campuses that are doing encampments as well.”

The speakers, who were asked to not be named, were found through community organizations and networks SJP has with UCLA and the overall of Orange County.

The first speaker, an Indigenous professor, notes that Long Beach State has ties to Israel through their partnerships with military defense companies, notably Boeing, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman while on Puvungna land.

“It’s always about land. The courageous student-led Gaza solidarity protest and encampments are occurring on Indigenous lands,” the unnamed professor said.

“The history of the U.S. begins with the removal and genocide of Indigenous people, and universities of the United States are an extension of that.”

“[…] Likewise, the egregious refusal of university administrators, including here at CSULB, to name and condemn the genocide of Palestinian peoples is also a form of settler colonial violence,” they said.

According to SJP, multiple professors are in support of the protests for Palestine. However, others have reported the protests as being antisemitic.

“Faculty is the backbone of students and students are the backbone of faculty. Without each other we wouldn’t be here,” Ortega said.

“[…] We have had a couple people report us for antisemitic activity, which I want to clarify; we are not antisemitic, we are anti-genocide. We are not anti-Jew, we are anti-apartheid.”

Yousef Baker, a Long Beach State Middle Eastern studies professor, was one of the faculty members who came out to support the protesting students.

“I think it’s important to come to make sure that students feel safe to do what they do,” Baker said.

“There’s a way in which this country and our campus where students have been preemptively positioned as violent or threatening or somehow outside of the university culture. And that’s just not the case.”


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