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The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

The student news site of Sacramento State University

The State Hornet

Student news without fear or favor

Pro-Palestine encampment draws support from students and community members at Sac State

The community largely embraced the encampment during its first day
Alyssa Branum
One of the many signs decorating the pro-Palestine encampment site in the Library Quad Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Signs at the protest said phrases such as “Bread not Bombs” and “Resistance is justified when people are occupied.”

Editor’s note: the names of certain sources have been kept anonymous for the sake of minimizing harm and protecting their safety.

When Sacramento State protesters established their pro-Palestine encampment in the Library Quad Monday morning, students and community members alike had varying reactions.

Coordinated by Sac State’s Students for Justice in Palestine, several campus groups rallied for the cause, including the California Faculty Association and Students for Quality Education. Off-campus supporters, such as Sacramento’s Jewish Voice for Peace chapter and Sacramento residents were represented as well.

About two dozen were set up around the quad’s fountain, along with a medical station, snack tables and speakers to play music and make announcements. Signs with pro-Palestine messages, such as “Bread Not Bombs,” were placed around the encampment.

“Us, as students, will not allow that on our conscience,” a fourth-year anonymous student said. “We will not let our tuition go toward this. We will not rest until we achieve our goals.”

The student said the protesters have outlined four demands for the school, which include disclosing investments, divesting from corporations and partnerships with Israel, defending student activism and truth in academia and declaring the occupation of Palestine and the U.S.-Israel bombing of Palestinians illegal and indefensible.

Jessica Lawless, an advocate with Sacramento’s Jewish Voice for Peace organization, showed up in support of the effort.

“We want to be here to make sure that people understand that there are Jewish people involved who stand with the Students for Justice in Palestine,” Lawless said. “That anti-Zionist Jewish perspective needs to be present so that people understand that this is not an antisemitic encampment.”

Lawless agrees with the student protesters’ demands placed on the school.

“I hope that ultimately the whole CSU system divests from any investments in Israel to ensure that the university is not culpable in committing a genocide,” Lawless said.

Students weren’t the only protesters present. Samantha Stringer, who works full-time at a mental health facility, showed up in support of the movement after seeing the encampment on the news. Stringer said she wanted to participate in a protest like this for a long time.

“I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on the history that has led to this conflict, but I can tell you that the response to Oct. 7, was absolutely uncalled for,” Stringer said. “The International Court of Justice ruled that this was a genocide.”

As a mental health worker, she said she was particularly cognizant of the psychological effects the Gaza conflict will have on those there.

“I think of all the children that have to grow up in some of these devastating situations,” Stringer said. “The amount of PTSD and severe trauma that these people are gonna deal with, given that they survive, it’s absolutely horrible.”

RELATED: ‘We’re going to be here until the CSU system divests’: Students and organizers comment on Sac State encampment

As college students across the nation have seen campus-wide lockdowns, disciplinary action and violent police pushback, Stringer said she hopes Sac State doesn’t punish the students for protesting.

A student who provided the alias “Angel” said they joined the encampment to show solidarity for humanity.

“I hope for the opportunity for the university to divest from perpetrating violence toward Palestinian folks,” Angel said.

Angel also said they believe Sac State is ignoring the protesters’ pleas due to their preference for profit.

“It’s convenient for them to be silent, to be neutral,” Angel said.

Throughout the day, students passed by the encampment on their way to classes, observing the gathering. One such student was third-year exercise science major Issa Issa.

“I’m happy they’re doing something like this where everybody can come see it, rather than just having mainly Arabs come and see it,” Issa said. “I love how they have it in the middle of the campus.”

While most students at the encampment were there to protest, some were brought by their professors as a learning experience.

Junior film major Eric French was there with his urban education class, led by Professor Nicki Mehta. However, French said he wasn’t just there because it was a requirement, but because he wanted to be more educated on the subject.

“I’m looking to learn. I don’t want to come in here and have a fixed mindset and make an opinion,” French said. “I want to learn everything, and then from there, take a step back and try to understand what’s going on.”

Sac State administration will allow protesters to stay camping, so long as they remain safe and peaceful, Sac State President Luke Wood said. The situation is still ongoing at the time of publication.

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Micah Yip
Micah Yip, News Staffer
(he/him) Micah Yip is a DEI staffer for The State Hornet. He is a political science/journalism major and is working towards a career in political journalism. Micah is passionate about advocating for positive change through his work and is driven by his firm belief in journalism’s power to uncover truth, expose injustices and shed light on issues that demand attention. Micah has previously written for pop culture news websites CBR and Goalcast.
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