Tag Archives: Solidarity

Israeli Apartheid Week a Smashing Success

From March 8th to March 12th, SDS at UH hosted a week of events in solidarity with Palestinian struggle as part of Israeli Apartheid Week. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the numerous groups and individuals that helped make this week of events possible, and thank everyone who participated in our panels and demonstrations as well as attended the events and spoke with us. This list will be incomplete, but we want to thank our Panelists; Adam, Sally, Busi, Nick, Brother Ester, and Gretta, as well as David at South Park Annex, Michelle in Industrial Design, Palestinians for Peace and Democracy, IEC Islamic Education Center, Amnesty International at UH (for being totally cool about us stealing their room by accident) and the dozens of students who helped us paint border walls, hand out fliers and attended our events. We bit off a lot with this week of events and feel like it came off very well, thanks to all of y’all!

This post starts with a recap of what we did with links to our documentation, and is followed by the press coverage that we received.

Here is a recap of what we did:

Monday

Sally Presenting

We hosted a Sally went to the west bank with the Middle East Fellowship’s Palestine Summer Encounter. Sally spoke in particular about the situation in Hebron, where a small group of far right Israeli settlers have been able to paralyze social life and create an intense IDF military presence. Adam spoke about going to Israel on a Birthright Israel trip, and going to a protest in the village of Jayyous against the Apartheid Wall, with the Israeli group Anarchists Against the Wall.

Adam Presenting

We opened this event and all of our panels by reading a statement from the BNC (Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee) in support of the Israeli Apartheid Week events being held around the world.

Due to technical dificulties, we lost the audio from Sally’s talk (Sorry Sally!!), but Adam’s talk is online here.

Tuesday

Front side of our apartheid wall

From 11am to 2pm on March 9th, SDS at UH set up a “border wall” in the middle of Butler Plaza, in front of the MD Anderson library in the center of the University of Houston campus. The wall had art, information and really cool maps that presented information about the occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and US military aid to Israel.

Street Theater Against the Occupation

We handed out a flier with information about the wall being built in the west bank that is confiscating Palestinian land and dividing communities. We also staged some street theater stopping folks on their way to the library, and when they lacked the proper permits to visit the library, detaining them in front of the wall, this gained a lot of attention, and we got in a lot of conversations. We talked to folks that agreed with us 100%, folks who thought we were wrong and stupid, folks who had no idea about what was happening with the conflict, folks who were veterans of the Israeli Defense Forces, and folks who had a lot of misconceptions about the conflict based on what they had heard about the conflict from TV.

We feel that this event was very successful in raising awareness and discussions about Israel’s oppressive, apartheid policies and presenting our position and information to the UH audience. At least hundreds, more likely multiple thousands of people saw the wall that we constructed in the center of campus during the most busy part of the week. It clearly created a buzz on campus that people continued to talk about during the week. Houston Indymedia Coverage of the Border Wall and Street Theater

Wednesday

Panel on South African Apartheid

On Wednesday we hosted a Panel on Anti-Apartheid Movement in Houston in Solidarity with the people of South Africa, which addressed parallels with the struggle against Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinians. Speakers included (from right to left) Brother Ester King, alumni of Texas Southern University, veteran of Organization for Black Student Unity and Afro Americans for Black Liberation and currently a board member of Palestinians for Peace and Democracy, Busi Peters, alumni of the University of Houston, founder of Women Healing and Empowering Women (WHEW) and organizer with Creative Women Unite and Nick Cooper, Alumni of Rice University and organizer with Houston Indymedia and Food Not Bombs.


The full panel was recorded and is online here.

Thursday

Greta Berlin of Free Gaza Movement

On Thursday March 11th, we hosted Gretta Berlin of the Free Gaza Movement spoke about their efforts to break the siege of Gaza by sending aid by boats from Cyprus, and screened the film To Shoot an Elephant, a documentary made by Spanish activists during “Operation Cast Lead” Israels war on the civilian population of Gaza where more than 1,400 people were killed. Houston Indymedia Coverage of all our Panels

Friday

Boycott Caterpillar

On Friday March 12th, SDS and our friends and allies went to the Caterpillar sales facility on the Northwest Freeway. This was our concluding event and we feel like we ended on a strong note. We protested, holding signs on the feeder road of 1960 during rush hour traffic, from 3:30, until a little after 5, as the workers of Caterpillar left, reading our signs and listening to our chants.

We chanted “Caterpillar you cant hide, you’re constructing apartheid” “Caterpillar – Human Killer” and “Demolition isn’t right, we wont die without a fight.” Most drivers seemed perplexed by the protest, but we got dozens of honks, one man actually parked in a lot hundreds of feet away and walked down the sidewalk to thank us for protesting against Caterpillar and to support justice for Palestinians.

Caterpillar Group Photo

We concluded the event by gathering and talking about Rachel Corrie, an American peace activist who was crushed to death by an Caterpillar bulldozer being driven by an Israeli soldier while trying to prevent a house demolition in the Gaza Strip. This upcoming Tuesday March 16th is the seven year anniversary of her death, and we read some of her writings aloud. We concluded by thanking everyone for coming, and having a victory dinner at a nearby Denny’s.

Caterpillar, Inc. continues to sell its D9 and D10 bulldozers to Israel where they are militarized and used to bulldoze homes, uproot olive trees, build the Apartheid Wall, and kill civilians. In addition to constituting violations of international law, of the US Arms Export Control Act and of its own corporate code of conduct, Caterpillar is playing a a special role in strengthening Israeli Apartheid and perpetuating injustice against Palestinians. [Flier on Caterpillar from US Campaign to End the Occupation (PDF)] Houston Indymedia Coverage of the Caterpillar Protest

Press Coverage

Coverage from the Daily Cougar:

“Last year, more than 40 cities participated in Israeli Apartheid Week, and this week, Students for a Democratic Society of UH are observing it in Houston.

Israel was established as a sovereign state in 1948, after the holocaust and World War II. As a result, Palestinians were forced to move out of their homes and into the West Bank and Gaza regions. This attracted much international attention, and the conflict is still going on today.

The week-long SDS events have included lectures, demonstrations and film screenings aimed at raising awareness about Israel’s controversial policies toward Palestinians and to gather support for the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.”
Read Full Article

Daily Cougar Opinion:
Apartheid doesn’t categorize Israel A critique that we think is pretty off base
Palestinians facing real issues in Israel A rebuttal by an SDSer

Dana and Rob from SDS were on the Arab Voices Radio Show on KPFT 90.1fm Audio Here (we are in the second half)

Interesting hella critical coverage from the Jewish Herald Voice Newspaper:
From the Jewish Herald Voice
Houston’s largest institution of higher learning is the latest campus to be targeted by the anti-Israel propaganda campaign, “Israel Apartheid Week.”

On March 9, University of Houston students erected a mock-Israeli “apartheid wall” on Butler Plaza, in front of the central campus’ main library, during peak midday traffic time. The plywood display was scrawled with messages reading: “Boycott, Divest, Sanction”; “Right of Return”; and “Refugee of My Own Land.” The display also featured graphics showing maps, military aircraft, weapons and bloody handprints. Half-a-dozen participants approached passers-by with fliers and conversation.

Tuesday’s demonstration was part of a weeklong series of IAW programs at and through UH, planned for March 8 to 12. These programs, which also included planned lectures, a film screening and protest – all were organized by the UH chapter of Students for a Democratic Society.
Read Full Article

Jewish Herald Voice Followup:
Campus experts evaluate local IAW-responses

International day of the Migrant celebrated protesting Houston Processing Center

Happy Internernational Day of the Migrant!

Students for a Democratic Society and others picked the Houston Processing Center to protest the raids of Mambos restaurants and detaining 33 restaurant workers on suspected immigration violations, on Dec 2nd. The location of the Houston Processing Center is important, as the first private prison in the United States. Private companies operate dozens of detention centers for immigrants across the nation [map].

About 2 dozen protesters gathered on Greens Road and walked a picket line with chants about immigrant rights including; “What do we want? Immigrant Right! How do we get it? Melt the ICE!” “Immigrantes, Escucha, estamos en su lucha” “Immigration is not a crime, why are people doing time?” and “Ariba, Abajo, migra al carajo!” We had a powerful soundsystem that may very well have permeated the thick concrete walls of the detention center. People spoke and sang songs, we did interviews with television reporters, and we then marched to the other side of the facility.

Stop the Raids!

The south side of the facility is the visitor entrance, where during specified hours people can visit their loved ones locked up in the detention center. We sang and chanted more, and then called it a day and left. There was discussion of possibly making vigils at the detention center a monthly event, as well as discussion of upcoming work being done to support Comprehensive Immigration Reform, that may help fix the broken immigration system, which separates families and allows companies like the Corrections Corporation of America to profit off of human misery.

More Photos on Houston Indymedia

Report by Gloria in Workers World: Houston actions support immigrant workers

Dec 18th: Observe international day of the migrant

Stop the Raids!

What: Protest! Free the Mambo 31!
Date: Friday, December 18, 2009
Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm
Location: Houston Processing Center – 5520 Greens Road

This event is endorsed by: Students for a Democratic Society at UH, La Raza Justice Movement, International Action Center, CRECEN/America Para Tod@s, Houston Interfaith Worker Justice Center, doscentavos.net, Brother Jesse Blog, ournewanahuac.net

International Migrants Day is an international day observed on December 18th as International Migrants Day appointed by the General Assembly of United Nations on 4 December 2000 taking into account the large and increasing number of migrants in the world. On 18 December, 1990, the General Assembly adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families.

This day is observed in many countries, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations through the dissemination of information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, and through sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure the protection of migrants. [Background: United Nations | Wikipedia]

Facebook Event | Flier on Houston Indymedia as PDF

Protest Against Coup in Honduras gets support from El Paso to Houston

Against the military coup, Popular Resistance!

Against the military coup, Popular Resistance!

More than 40 people braved the heat and many drove long distances to hold a demonstration in opposition to the military coup in Honduras, the subsequent violantions of human rights, repression of media outlets in Honduras and demanding a return of the democratically elected Manuel Zelaya to office as president of Honduras.

People held signs and banners condemning the coup, and speakers spoke their piece from the Centro de los Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos of El Paso, The Southwest Workers Center of San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley, The Central American Resource Center of Houston, Students for a Democratic Society of Houston and many other groups and individuals.

Chants included “Honduras no es cuartel, fuera ejercito de el!” (Honduras is not a barracks, the military get out!) “No al golpe militar, resistence popular” (no to the military coup, popular resistance) and other slogans made up on the spot.

SDS against the Coup

SDS against the Coup

The rally lasted from around 1:30 till almost 3. The protest was covered by News 2 Houston (NBC), Telemundo, El Dia [here], and the Daily Cougar [here]. Following the protest many participants went to the Honduran restaurant Coquitos, just down the road on Hilcroft, where we had agua de sandia, casamiento, sopa de pescado and plantains while watching CNN en Espanol.

While we hope that Manuel Zelaya will be swiftly reinstated, ending the crisis in Honduras, we are watching the situation and may call for protests again in the near future. More photos on Houston Indymedia.

Love knows no Borders! SDS Sends Valentines to incarcerated children at T Don Hutto

Showing Love to Locked up Kids on Valentines Day

Showing Love to Locked up Kids on Valentines Day

Around 130 children will be locked up at the T Don Hutto Detention Center, a converted Medium Security Prison, this Valentines Day. Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Houston sent Valentines cards to about 85 of them as part of the 100 Actions in 100 Days to End Family Detention. These Children range in age from less than a year of age to 17 years old.

We watched the film T. Don Hutto Family Prison and a new short history of immigrant detention produced by Grassroots Leadership, a grassroots non-profit dedicated to abolishing prisons for profit. While we watched we signed and addressed cards to the Hutto facility in Taylor Texas, outside of Austin.

UH SDS is planning to organize on our campus and in the community for the end family detention. We are developing a workshop on the history of immigrant detention and private prisons which we hope to offer to classes and clubs at UH as well as in the community. We are mobilizing to go to Taylor Texas in early March to protest demanding the closure of Hutto and an end to the policy of family detention.

Get in touch with us if you would like to join the struggle for immigrant and human rights, and putting people before corporate profits.