Al Quds Day at UCM

May 14, 2024 /

We'Ced Youth Reporters supporting the event.

Al-Quds Day also known as Jerusalem Day is an annual event held since 1979 in support of Palestine and the opposition of the Israelí occupation of Jerusalem. Al-Quds day is usually marked by protests and demonstrations all around the world to not only show solidarity to Palestine, but to raise awareness about the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This year, a number of student organizations including Students for Justice in Palestine, Muslim Student Association, and the Social Justice Club at the University of California, Merced, got together to host an overnight sit-in as an observance of Al Quds Day. The overnight sit-in that took place drew a diverse group of students from various backgrounds, all eager to show their support and broaden their perspectives. With over sixty people in attendance the gathering was a melting pot of academic stages, with pupils, teens, and young adults all contributing their presence and experience to the dialogue.

The event was marked by a series of interviews with students who shared their own personal reasons for participating in the sit-in. The first interview of the night was conducted by one of our own youth, Mia. Mia is a nineteen-year-old who was able to interview Xerxes, a grad student who is a Co-founder of the Young Democratic Socialist of America Chapter at UC Merced. Xerxes was able to explain that the sit-in that was taking place is an ongoing effort to bring awareness to the everyday developing situation in Gaza and the illegal occupation of Palestinian land. Xerxes insights underscored the UC’s system involvement in supporting war crimes; as the UC’s have not spoken out against the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. The event’s momentum continued as Mia proceeded to her second interview with Jeneen. Jeneen, who grew up in the area, expresses how individualistic and disconnected people have become and urges that we remember that we are not alone. With over sixty people in attendance Jeneen had a point: community is our strongest resource. Our last interview of the night was conducted by Nat. Nat, who is a seventeen-year-old high school senior, got the chance to interview Carlo. Carlo, who is the Vice President of Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Merced has been working since last October to make a Palestinian presence available at UC Merced. Similar to Xerxes and Jeneen, Carlo expressed a deep passion to bring awareness to the ongoing conflict and described the situation as a result of ‘decades of imperialistic policies.’

Al-Qud, which is the Arabic translation of Jerusalem, is nearly twelve thousand miles away from UC Merced, but more than sixty students showed up to protest it’s illegal occupation. The sit-in was a calm event where students were able to share stories, experiences, and their feelings regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After the interviews the night was followed by a Taraweeh, Qiyam, and Fajr prayer which was led by the Muslim Students Association at UC Merced. It was nice to see students take charge and advocate for justice and human rights.

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