As the sun set on Nov. 15, a crowd began to gather in front of the stone Queen’s sign at University and Union to hold up lit lighters and bright phone screens and read a list of 60 names. The 60 names included members of minority groups who had lost their lives to systemic oppression.
The crowd — which included representatives from Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) and the Queen’s Black Academic Society (QBAS), among others — took a moment of silence.
As the crowd began to disperse and the lights were extinguished, Leen Amarin, ArtSci ’17 and one of the event organizers from the SPHR, told The Journal that “we hosted [the vigil] mainly because we wanted to speak up against the systemic oppression that both black people and Palestinians face every day.”
The event on Tuesday, Amarin said, had been a peaceful gathering, meant to be seen by the student body in a high traffic area. “We’re trying to really raise awareness mainly, and really be there for each other now. Especially in our post-Trump world.”
With the difficult questions raised among minority groups in the wake of last week’s American election, she said that one of the main points of the vigil was to show up in unity with one another.
“We want to be here for each other,” she said. “To show that we’re standing in solidarity with you, and doing everything in our power to stand up against your oppression.”
Another organizer, Abeer Abdulle, ArtSci ’17, said that she’s just happy to be able to get their word out and raise awareness about causes on campus.
“A lot of people on campus don’t exactly know that black Palestinian solidarity does exist, so we chose a place like University and Union because like, who isn’t here?” she said.
“The beautiful thing about things like this is that the more we discuss, and the more open we are with dialogue, other groups are able to find out about our struggles. And we’re always open to allies.”
Abdulle said that many students may be wary of joining a cause if they feel their ethnicity doesn’t fit.
“To the people who do want to join, you don’t have to be a part of this demographic.” She said. “you can be anything and still show up as an ally”
QBAS organizer Asha Gordon, ArtSci ’18, added that “if we do live in a democracy, no one should be afraid or think there is a risk in terms of their academic or employment life by standing in love with their fellow humans.”
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