WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - More than 100 Clark University students walked out of class on Wednesday to show solidarity with the Palestinian people amidst the fighting in the Middle East.
“What we need for a short term solution is a ceasefire from our politicians,” said Raquyah Al-Ashabi, a Clark alum, at the event.
The rally at Clark is part of a national day of action where young people are demanding their schools stop supporting companies that are providing military aid to Israel. The group peacefully gathered for about an hour.
“We believe it’s not fair for our money to essentially be going to killing our own people,” said Laila El-Samra, with the Middle Eastern & North African Student Association, “and we also want them to release a statement acknowledging Palestine and the Palestinians.”
“This was a rally of solidarity and to express public support,” said Aaron Kirschenbaum, who organized the rally.
These walk-outs come as college campuses deal with rising tensions from students on either side of the conflict.
“Less than three weeks ago there was a bloody, brutal, blood curdling attack on the citizens of Israel … families in their homes and here we are today with a really aggressive group,” said Steven Schimmel with the Jewish Federation of Central, Massachusetts. “That hurts. That hurts in a really emotional, visceral way.”
Some leaders of Jewish organizations attended the rally just to listen, while another student Ethan Quinn chose not to attend.
“A lot of us feel threatened at certain points and it’s kinda scary,” Quinn said. “I have friends who have had things happen to them on this campus including having things put on your doors and threats made against them, bashing comments, things like that.”
Clark University did not comment on the demands of the rally but said in part in a statement that “we have worked intently to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our students and provide the support they need to grapple with these difficult and emotionally challenging issues.
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