Why Palestine?: Interviews with Pro-Palestine Students at UCLA

Over the last nine months, UCLA students have mobilized en masse to protest the Israeli apartheid, occupation, and genocide in Palestine. Pro-Palestine protestors have organized rallies, teach-ins, and three Palestine Solidarity Encampments as of this article’s publication date.

During this critical moment in the fight for Palestinian liberation, I hope to record pro-Palestine UCLA students’ experiences and motivations. I compiled statements from five pro-Palestine students, including myself, who have attended pro-Palestine political actions over the past school year.

Happy Pride! Our Commitment to Palestine

Stonewall serves as a reminder of the power of the masses to disrupt an oppressive status quo.

Toloposungo: All Police Are a Gonorrhea

Daniela Maldonado Salamanca, a transgender Colombian sex worker activist and punk singer, spoke about queer resistance at the People’s University for a Liberated Palestine on May 20. Hosted by the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the People’s University offers a space “to foster our own learning and mutual support.” SJP established the People’s University following UCLA’s failure to protect and care for its people.

OutWrite Statement: Ceasing Regular Operations in Solidarity with Palestine

In solidarity with the pro-Palestine movement, OutWrite Newsmagazine will solely platform Palestine for the remainder of the quarter. We refuse to continue business as usual in the face of the ongoing Israeli genocide and occupation in Palestine. Over the past couple weeks, the university has suppressed, silenced, endangered, and by proxy of UCPD and other fascist law enforcement, attacked and arrested students, faculty, staff, and community members calling for Palestinian liberation. The university has proven itself to be hostile to the demands of its people; it actively limits our free speech. OutWrite unequivocally condemns the Israeli genocide in Palestine and uplifts the movement for a Free Palestine.

OutWrite’s Statement on the Zionist Attacks and Police Brutality Against UCLA’s Palestinian Solidarity Encampment

OutWrite Newsmagazine calls for an end to the occupation and genocide in Palestine. Israel has brutally murdered at least 34,000 Palestinians and counting. Since its establishment in 1948, Israel’s existence as a settler colonial state necessitates the extermination and erasure of the indigenous Palestinian people. Israel razes Palestinian hospitals, massacres Palestinians seeking food and aid, and casts 2 million Palestinians out of their ancestral homes to induce conditions of famine, terror, and death. This past week, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to invade Rafah, a city in Gaza harboring an estimated 1.5 million refugees.

“This Is a Space of Love”: UCLA’s Palestinian Solidarity Encampment

On Thursday, April 25, UCLA activists erected a pro-Palestinian solidarity encampment in Dickson Plaza. The organizers intend to remain in place until UCLA has fulfilled their primary demand for divestment from corporations and institutions complicit in the genocide of Palestinians. Over a hundred students congregated behind makeshift barricades, many with tents for overnight stays.

The Fight Over Flags

When I was in high school, my friend and I fundraised and worked with our district to paint progress pride flags at each campus in the school district. While some called our project indoctrination, others claimed it was unnecessary because they believed this was an empty display of virtue signaling. However, as our right to queer expression continues to suffer heavy restrictions around the country, it is crucially empowering to permanently show that we are not leaving. Students may not feel safe at home, and affirming their identities decreases depression, anxiety, and suicide rates by allowing them to be themselves in school. The symbols used to identify people’s orientations and politics inform others of whom to trust.