I stand with O4S, SJP, Sunrise, and students

A quick note.

First, Organizing for Survivors is continuing to hold a sit in on the first floor of Parrish. This action comes in light of recent communications from administration, and has been supported by alumni, faculty members, many students, and others.

Second, professors continue to fast in preparation for the Board of Managers’ May meeting to emphasize the importance of climate change and socially engaged financial policy. This builds on the work of Sunrise Swarthmore and, previously, Mountain Justice.

Third, Students for Justice in Palestine have erected a wall in Kohlberg courtyard to push for the elimination of Sabra hummus on campus. Sabra, as a corporation, holds ties to actors and institutions which directly support violence against the Palestinian people.

Fourth, students are working to encourage a meeting between the administration of our school and other organizations to prevent the closure of the College Access Center of Delaware County. This is an incredible organization which has provided services, opportunities, and spaces to Chester students free of charge.

SPAN’s mission has always been to increase engagement in the political and electoral processes, at all levels. In seeing my classmates act with such courage in the face of uncertain consequences across a variety of issues connected by the common thread of institutional change and discussing/participating in various actions with others, I realized that encouraging people to be more active in politics cannot possibly be distinguished from a broader understanding of political action. Voting is certainly one of the most essential modes of political engagement, but is by no means the only.

Being a Medical Anthropology student, this should have been clearer to me initially: upsetting the institutional structures of power for a good reason (as all of these movements are) can more effectively be accomplished through diverse actions performed by a coalition of actors. Voting is necessary…and so is direct action.

I support the actions of O4S, Sunrise, SJP, and the many others who are fighting for social justice on this campus.

I do not wish to force anyone to participate in these movements, but would propose that, if political engagement is our aim, we all consider the strengths and potential impacts of the exemplary, multiple, and coalition-led forms of nonviolent struggle on our campus during the past weeks (and years).

– Jacob Demree ’19

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