Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 23, 2016

Palestine Flag

Ramallah, Palestine
Photo by Addison Neher

Students Raise Awareness for Palestine

Lizzy Raimondi

Students for Justice in Palestine, a national club that can be found on several college campuses, has arrived at Manchester and meets every other Thursday at 9:30 p.m. in the Student Activities Center in the basement of Calvin Ulrey.

“It was started to bring awareness and action to our campus, as it is so important that people know about conflicts happening around the world, especially this conflict in particular,” said Michael Himlie, senior.  

The nationally recognized club started nationally in 1993 and has continued to raise awareness about its cause. Its goal is to inform students of the toxicity spreading across the world, especially in Palestine. For instance, the club informs its members that a third generation of Palestinian children are now being brought up in refugee camps inside and outside Palestine, living in chronic poverty and are being denied the right to return to their family and homes. Hundreds of thousands more Palestinians suffer discrimination over access to public services, land rights and employment within Israel itself.  

Everyone and anyone is welcome to join the club or attend meetings. “Many of the students who attend are those who are in social science departments, largely peace studies, philosophy, sociology and political science,” Himlie said, “but it is certainly a goal to get everyone on campus to be aware of the oppression that Palestinians face under Israel, and how we unknowingly support that, and can avoid such support of oppression and injustice.”

Himlie also wants to let people know that the Students for Justice in Palestine is not against the Jewish population. “We are a nonviolent group who invites and is open to anyone coming to learn and actively engage in the exciting discussion and work that we aim to do,” he said.  
A steering committee of five students currently oversee leadership of the club. “We have positions that are held to satisfy Manchester club policy, but disclose and dismiss our roles both as a team and to the public,” Himlie said. “We share all responsibilities of the club equally.”  Every leader of the group has the same opportunity to help fellow students grow as a person and in knowledge for the people of Palestine.