Campus News

‘Tell the truth’: Palestinian protest calls on University to divest, support cause

Students on Thursday afternoon protested around campus for the University to remove companies supporting genocide from the campus. | Raphael Fernandez/The Cougar

On Thursday afternoon, Students for Justice in Palestine HTX held a protest at UH in support of Palestine.

SJP, along with other student supporters, called for divestment on campus and demanded UH get rid of companies which they say are complicit in genocide. 

The protest took place on the North Lawn of Student Center North and the protestors chanted slogans like, “Renu Khator you will see, Palestine will be free” and “while you’re learning, Gaza’s burning.”

“The university, since 2016, has invested about $7 million into arms manufacturers and these are people who sell weapons to Israel that are being used on Gaza as well as the West Bank,” said SJP representative and political science senior Reyna, who chose to withhold their last name for fear of retaliation. “We want the university to agree to divest from these arms manufacturers as well as institute a socially responsible investment fund.” 

Further, the protestors want UH to remove companies like McDonald’s, Starbucks and Sabra. According to Reyna, organizers are also calling on the University to stand alongside protesters and encourage them to make use of their First Amendment rights. 

“While we’re here on campus and going by on our days, every single university in Gaza has been bombed,” Reyna said. “So we need a way of materially getting rid of these investments in companies that profit off of the bombing and destruction of Palestine along with full right of return for Palestinians.” 

The protest received support not just from UH students, but also people outside of the community. 

Students are actively demanding UH and its officials to take action in support of Palestine and make their voices feel heard. 

“It is my job as a citizen of this country to use my First Amendment to raise my voice in protest for Palestine,” said biology sophomore R. Ahmed. “UH is funding genocide by investing into various companies that are either interconnected with Israeli companies or are connected directly to Israeli companies.”

According to the protestors, they are frustrated that UH has not made any official statements condemning the acts of Israel. Students want officials to understand the severity of the situation and how they’re supporting the ecosystem of the genocide. 

“UH’s own self interest is causing the deaths of thousands of children, hundreds of thousands of injuries and childhood trauma that none of us can ever imagine,” Ahmed said. “The Palestinians are some of the most resilient and forgotten people of the world.” 

The protestors wanted to emphasize the importance of educating the campus about Palestine and ensuring that the Palestinian voices are not silenced. 

“We want UH to enforce different educational classes and not bring biased speakers that speak about the Israel-Palestine situation,” said political science junior A. Soliman. “We want them to not censor our voices and let us tell the truth.” 

They also want UH officials and other students to understand the religious aspect related to Palestine and to highlight how the genocide is affecting them and their Palestinian family and friends.

“As a Muslim, I just want to be able to visit the holy land,” Soliman said. “It means a lot to me from a religious perspective and I would want to see my cousins who are Palestinians to be able to go back to their home land.” 

Students protested in the Student Centers, asking for a free Palestine and a statement from the University. | Raphael Fernandez/The Cougar

The protestors urged UH officials and the campus community to understand that as humans, they can’t be complicit of the genocide and need to stand up against it.

“I don’t know if any UH officials believe in the afterlife or not, but if you’re not going to answer for your actions in this life, then God will certainly make sure you answer for them in the next life,” Ahmed said. 

SJP will have their next general body meeting on April 18 and more details will soon be available on their Instagram

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