Based on my experience, activism for Palestinian rights is at its strongest on college campuses. Public figures debate the issue in antique university halls. Students stage protests on the quads. Student groups aid national organizations in hosting educational neighborhood events. Politicians address overflowing crowds in chemistry lecture rooms. Without a doubt, the Palestine/Israel conflict is the most heated issue at your local university.
Also based on my experience, the grassroots movement dedicated to forwarding the Palestinian narrative to the public is exceptionally strong in cities like Chicago, and much of the success can definitely be traced to college campuses. This is where Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) comes in. Those who watch FOX News are far too familiar with SJP as the “rogue” and “unorganized” student group that intends to incite violence on campus for no clear reason. But in reality, it’s the total opposite. SJPs around the nation have done excellent work in the past few years ranging from launching BDS campaigns, hosting international speakers, and organizing city-wide events that have been covered by journalists on a national level.
Chicago’s activist community is very lucky in this sense. The city is home to at least seven very active SJP chapters in very politically-involved university campuses. Although each chapter runs independent of a national headquarters or mediating office, members all recognize the importance of working together for a common cause. And with this, I’d like to introduce to you the most recent SJP development: SJP Chicago, a Chicago-wide collaboration of some of the most active and successful SJPs in the United States.
SJP Chicago doesn’t have an office so I can’t tell you to drop by, but it does have a website that’ll be updated with anything relating to Chicago-based student activism in the name of justice for Palestine. Be sure to check it out and bookmark the site, even if you’re not from Chicago. There’s a lot to learn and a lot more you can teach.