AQE Responds to College Protests on Genocide in Gaza 1

AQE Responds to College Protests on Genocide in Gaza

NEW YORK, N.Y. (May 6, 2024) — Public education advocacy organization the Alliance for Quality Education released the following statement on the protests happening at college campuses across the country in response to the genocide in Gaza: 

“We at AQE believe in, and exercise, our right to protest, and believe that students have this right. The work we do includes standing up to punitive discipline and suspensions, preventing police from harassing our young people in schools, for being Black or Brown, for being transgender, or LGBTQ, for being an immigrant. Now college students are being harmed and abused by police and we will not stay silent.

“Our leaders in New York and nationally have the audacity to condemn and label peaceful protests disorderly or disrespectful, but are all too willing to accept the violence meted out by the police they call in, all while saying and doing nothing to stop the genocide our government is funding in Gaza and doing little to nothing to protect New York’s Muslim, Arab and Palestinian communities. Our leaders seem more upset about the fact that protesters are disrupting business as usual, than they are about all ways that harm is being perpetrated.

“Protest is not supposed to be comfortable or convenient. After seven months of this bombardment and assault on Palestine, people of conscience will not turn away. Colleges have long been the places that young people have used to protest many things, especially war. We must not allow the blanket accusations of hate and blatant misrepresentation by individuals and the press to invalidate and discredit the anti-war, anti-genocide message of these college students, who are responding to an atrocity that people around the globe are witnessing with our own eyes. 

“Too many colleges and universities, including many here in New York, have chosen to respond to the peaceful student protests by calling in police, who then violently beat, drag and arrest students and staff for exercising their fundamental rights, instead of listening and opening a dialogue. We fought for and teach about these first amendment rights so we can exercisethem. We should commend those who use them, not stomp on them. 

“Many of our leaders have chosen to turn a blind eye, stoke fear and inflict violence rather than learning from history. They are following the same playbook that has been used for generations to devalue the expression and voices of people with a conscience. The goal of these college students and now staff is to uplift what is happening in Gaza and demand that their places of education stop financially supporting it, especially with their tuition dollars. To students putting their bodies on the line: we see you, we hear you, and we thank you. In the words of Ella Barker, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.”