Guest contribution by Sara Jawhari
A street vendor’s food stand reads “From Tahrir Square, Egypt, to Liberty Park, New York”. Students attending the National Students for Justice (SJP) Conference joined the Occupy Wall Street protests in Zuccotti Park.
Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh and Mahmood Mamdani address the audience during the SJP Conference’s opening and keynote address at Columbia Univeristy.
Mahmood Mamdani details Israel’s apartheid policies during the keynote address for the first ever National SJP Conference.
Attendees and organizers, in red shirts, listen attentively during the SJP Conference’s opening.
Students representing SJP chapters from almost every state convened for the first ever SJP Conference.
Conference attendees laugh at a joke by one of the speakers.
Conference organizers wore easily-distinguishable red shirts featuring the organization’s name on the back, as shown, and an intricate design of a kuffiyeh and a dove on the front.
Conference attendees packed the chemistry lecture hall at Columbia University to hear Mahmood Mamdani and Rhoda Ann Kanaaneh discuss the motives behind Israel’s apartheid policies.
One SJP Conference organizer waits for the rest of the SJP contingency on its way to the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York City.
Conference attendees split into seven open-discussion movement building workshops to better establish cross-campus organization and networking between SJP chapters all across the nation.
One SJP Conference attendee focuses intensely during one of the many offered workshops and sessions.
Students discuss the importance of campus activism and ways in which SJP chapters from across the country can build on one another’s work.
Dalit Baum presents a workshop on the economics behind Israel’s occupation of Palestine at the National SJP Conference in New York.
Student organizers representing various SJP chapters provide their full attention to Dalit Baum.
SJP Conference organizers facilitate the discussions taking place in the movement building workshops.
Conference attendees representing schools such as Harvard and UCLA map out strategies for future solidarity campaigns.
A representative of Jewish Voice for Peace exchanges information with an SJP Conference attendee.
Anna Baltzer, representing the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, addresses bystanders on the possibility of collaborating with SJP chapters for future campaigns.
SJP Conference organizers facilitate an open plenary in which students representing dozens of college campuses discussed their plans for future collaboration with one another.
Student organizers assess proposed plans for a nationalized SJP network and structure.
Student organizers don variations of the kuffiyeh during the open plenary on the second day of the National SJP Conference.
A student organizer consults the National SJP Conference’s official program.
The second day of the SJP Conference culminated in a concert hosted at the Shabazz Memorial & Education Center just blocks from Columbia University’s campus.
SJP Conference attendees record performances by spoken word artists and talented poets relating the occupation of Palestine to other injustices occurring around the world.
SJP Conference attendees and community members gathered to watch talented artists perform in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
Columbia SJP’s dabke team performs an energetic set before a large crowd at the Shabazz Center on the second night of the National SJP Conference.
Students reconvene in small workshops to prepare for the third day of activism and organizing at the first ever National SJP Conference hosted at Columbia University.
This particular workshop focuses on the censorship many pro-Palestine activists and groups are faced with on a regular basis.
Student organizers attend the closing ceremony of the SJP Conference and vote on the best possible dates for future campaigns and events.
At the closing ceremony of the first ever National SJP Conference, students break off into small groups to consolidate their proposals, ideas, and suggestions for future collaboration.
Sara Jawhari is a Palestinian American living in Kansas City, MO. She is currently completing her senior year at the University of Kansas, studying Journalism and Peace and Conflict Studies. She dreams of one day working as a traveling freelance journalist and documentary filmmaker.