The Georgetown University chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) organized a rally in Red Square calling for freedom for Palestine, following a national march in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 4 where thousands called for a ceasefire in Palestine and an end to the siege of Gaza.
Georgetown SJP organized the Nov. 9 rally in Red Square exactly two weeks after their Oct. 26 rally. Students held posters during the 20-minute protest calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and the ending of U.S. aid to Israel. Students also chanted “Free Palestine,” before handing out “murdered” fliers that listed Palestinians who had died in the conflict, hanging them up in the surrounding area after kneeling.
In the Red Square rally, students called for University President John J. DeGioia (CAS ’79, GRD ’95) and the university administration to support a ceasefire in Gaza.
Aniya Harris (CAS ’24) said she joined the rally in Red Square in a show of solidarity and a call for systemic change.
“I think just from speaking from my own ancestral trauma, things like that, I think it’s important that we acknowledge these similarities, regardless of us being different ethnicities or whatever it may be,” Harris told The Hoya. “When we see a collective desire for a change, I think it’s important to show up because everything is systemic.
“If we ignore one tragedy, then we also ignore every other tragedy that’s happened before and after it and every tragedy that’s still ongoing,” Harris added.
Ten advocacy groups organized the Nov. 4 national march, which drew people from over 22 states and drew around 300,000 protesters. Students from Georgetown attended the event, with Georgetown SJP organizing one group of around 20 students. After a two-hour rally in Freedom Plaza, protesters marched around the White House. Protesters criticized U.S. funding of Israel’s war efforts and President Joe Biden’s calls for humanitarian pauses instead of a full ceasefire.
Palestinian Youth Movement, ANSWER Coalition, American Muslim Alliance, The People’s Forum, National Students for Justice in Palestine, Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, U.S. Palestinian Community Network, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Maryland2Palestine and Palestinian Feminist Collective organized the event.
Roudah Chaker (CAS ’24), who attended the national march, said she participated because she is deeply concerned about the treatment of Palestinians.
“The urgency to stand up for what is morally right has never been more apparent. Silence and inaction, to me, are not just passive choices but active endorsements of the status quo,” Chaker wrote to The Hoya.
Chaker said she attended the march in solidarity and as an act of commitment to justice, truth and peace.
“I marched because if we don’t collectively stand up against such injustices, then who will? It’s about taking a stand, not just for the Palestinian people, but for the integrity of humanity itself,” Chaker said.
Saeed Samra (CAS ’27), who also attended the national march, said that they found the protest to be both positive and diverse.
“I remember looking around me, seeing all the non-Arab faces, and feeling safe…supported. There were Black, Korean, Filipino and more speakers: everyone from all different backgrounds coming together,” Samra wrote to The Hoya. “Everyone was so loving and kind towards each other. There were little kids there and everyone was cheering them on and introducing themselves.”
Full Disclosure: Saeed Samra is a writer in The Hoya’s Guide section.
Harris said the rally in Red Square was important to bring awareness to the issue on campus.
“For me coming out was more like, this is my time, especially because, you know, sometimes being on Georgetown’s campus, I feel like we’re in this bubble. And so like I now did go to the protest on the Capitol and stuff like that as well, but I think sometimes it feels like we’re not seeing the presence we need here as well because Georgetown is this institution that’s right next to Biden, like Biden is next door essentially.”
Paulina Inglima, Satya Heidrich-Amin and Kate Hwang contributed to reporting.