SJP National Conference 2011: Photo Tour and Update

Dear SJP Friends and Allies:

We would like to share photos and a few brief updates with you from the Students for Justice in Palestine National Conference: Students Confronting Apartheid (10/14-10/16).

Photo Credit: Sara Jawhari

See a photo tour here from SJP student photographer Sara Jawhari on Sami Kishawi’s blog, 16 Minutes to Palestine.

The conference was an amazing success thanks to our supporters, donors, speakers, student media team and our small but dedicated group of student organizers (all volunteers and totally sleep deprived!). An unimaginable number of students turned up to register for the conference, and we doubled our original capacity! Nearly 400 students from over 130 student Palestine solidarity groups came to New York for the weekend to mobilize, educate and support each other through a series of student-led discussions and workshops, grounded in part by expert academic and activist speakers. Our workshops, which aimed to challenge our collective vision and political development, cultivate new skills for organizing and build campaigns, included the following topics: dissecting and dismantling privilege in organizing, how to engage the question of Palestine in the public sphere, gender in Palestine organizing, defending the legal rights of students, how to use technology, art and meda in activism, the economics of the Israeli occupation, situating Palestine within an indigenous framework and more.

Thanks to all of you for your support! We are all excited to get back to our individual chapters and bring back everything we learned. It was really wonderful to see just how many students were actively working on this issue; it’s a difficult struggle and it’s always nice to know that we’re not alone, our numbers are large and that we are ever-expanding. For students that were unable to attend, we are working to provide updates and report backs.

To give a brief update on some of what will come out of this conference, we are currently voting on possibilities for a national structure, with proposals developed by SJP members from all over the United States. It will be very exciting to have each of these autonomously-created student solidarity groups that have sprung up over the years form part of a national group that can provide students with support and resources.

To see a list of points of unity voted on by conference attendees at the closing session on Sunday, October 16, please visit our conference webpage.

Be on the look out for great things!

With love, justice and solidarity,
Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine

More conference highlights can be found here (scroll down for day 2 & day 3).

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