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Brown community members join JFCN for morning gathering on Main Green

Speakers discuss next steps following dropping of charges, continue calls for divestment

<p>Organizers emphasized that closing criminal cases is one step among many and continued calls for divestment.</p><p>Courtesy of Brown Jews for Ceasefire Now</p>

Organizers emphasized that closing criminal cases is one step among many and continued calls for divestment.

Courtesy of Brown Jews for Ceasefire Now

Tuesday morning 鈥斅爓hen 20 Jewish students arrested at a Nov. 8 sit-in were scheduled to be arraigned until the University dropped charges against them 鈥斅爎oughly 150 community members assembled for a gathering organized by BrownU Jews for Ceasefire Now.

In front of the Stephen Robert 鈥62 Campus Center, members of JFCN, Brown University Palestine Solidarity Caucus and Brown Students for Justice in Palestine shared personal stories, reflected on the arrests of 20 JFCN members and called on the University to divest from companies affiliated with Israel.

Before Brown requested that the City Solicitor鈥檚 Office drop charges Monday afternoon 鈥斅燾anceling the arraignment 鈥 JFCN had planned to organize community members to attend the scheduled arraignment according to a Nov. 27 that was later updated after the charges were dropped.聽

The students were arrested and charged with willful trespass during a Nov. 8 sit-in at University Hall. At the sit-in, students demanded that the University call for a ceasefire in Gaza and that President Christina Paxson P鈥19 P鈥橫D鈥20 鈥渟upport a divestment resolution in the next meeting of the Brown Corporation.


At the Tuesday rally, attendees held signs that read 鈥淣ot In Our Name,鈥 鈥淐easefire Now,鈥 鈥淛ews Say No War on Gaza鈥 and 鈥淒ivest Now,鈥 among other messages.聽

Members of JFCN invited attendees to sit down around the Campus Center steps to discuss the implications of the dropped charges and 鈥渉ow to move forward,鈥 said Lily Gardner 鈥26.聽

鈥淲e鈥檙e excited that we don鈥檛 currently have to be at the courthouse,鈥 she added. 鈥淚t鈥檚 a good day.鈥澛

鈥 鈥楥harges dropped is not a triumph; it is a prerequisite,鈥 鈥 said Edie Fine 鈥25. 鈥淲e remain steadfast in our condemnation of a university that would seek police detainment on their students for peacefully protesting.鈥

Fine quoted from the University鈥檚 statement on dropping the charges: 鈥淭here is so much confusion, fear and anger being felt right now that we feel this is a time to bring our community together and try to set aside issues that are exacerbating tensions and divisions on our campus.鈥澛

鈥淲e will not be set aside,鈥 Fine said. 鈥淲e reject this narrative that we are in this fight at the expense of the Brown community.鈥

University Spokesperson Amanda McGregor previously wrote in an email to The Herald that 鈥渢he students were arrested Nov. 8 for refusing to leave University Hall, where their presence after operating hours posed security concerns, not for the content of their protest.鈥 Paxson emphasized that despite dropping the charges, the University did not consider the decision a precedent.

Speakers also addressed the shooting of three Palestinian college students last Saturday in Burlington, Vermont. Kinnan Abdalhamid, Tahseen Ali Ahmad and Brown junior Hisham Awartani 鈥25 sustained serious injuries, The Herald previously reported. All three are in stable condition.聽

JFCN speaker Rafael Ash 鈥26 led the group in song and prayer dedicated to 鈥淗isham, his friends and the lives lost in Gaza.鈥澛

鈥淚 thank Hisham for teaching us life and integrity and love even from a hospital bed,鈥 said Sherena Razek GS, an organizer with Brown PSC. 鈥淲e have much to learn from him.鈥澛


鈥淭he University administrators tell us that this issue is barred from us, that this doesn't impact us,鈥 Razek continued. 鈥淏ut a student at Brown was shot. Is that proof enough that this does impact us?鈥澛

鈥淲e join over a decade of calls for divestment from companies materially supplying the Israeli occupation,鈥 she added. 鈥淭he university has ignored these calls, arrested student protesters, and perpetuated a false narrative of necessary institutional neutrality while materially investing in genocide.鈥澛

Independent human rights experts from the United Nations have of the 鈥渞isk of genocide鈥 in Gaza due to Israel鈥檚 military response following Hamas鈥檚 Oct. 7 attacks.

Razek said she with Paxson, Awartani and 10 other students five weeks ago. 鈥淲e said, 鈥楾his mass dehumanization of Palestinian life will come back and it will get us personally.鈥 鈥

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鈥淭he president and other University leaders have engaged with a multitude of students, faculty and staff over the past several weeks 鈥 and continue to do so 鈥 in ways that are significant and important to directly commit to care and support amid the acknowledged increase in discrimination and threats of violence across the nation and around the world,鈥 Senior Vice President for Communications Cass Cliatt previously wrote in an email to The Herald.聽

monique jonath 鈥24 called on fellow Jewish students 鈥 especially white Jewish students 鈥 to 鈥渦se your position to be explicit 鈥 and to remember the importance of working in coalition with those whose identities and experiences differ.鈥

鈥淎s it relates to statements and petitions and online demands,鈥 McGregor previously wrote in an email to The Herald, 鈥渢he University remains committed to engaging directly with students, faculty and staff who are in touch with the University to share their ideas or concerns, and we do so routinely.鈥澛

鈥淏rown leaders have met with many student groups in recent weeks to listen to and address concerns, and we will continue to do so moving forward,鈥 McGregor added.聽

Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media Ariella Azoulay also joined the gathering.聽

鈥淚t was inspiring to listen to those dissident Jewish students reclaiming their place in this world as Jews and drawing on Jewish histories and memories which are longer than those Zionism created, in order to struggle for the right thing 鈥 free Palestine,鈥 Azoulay wrote in an email to The Herald.聽聽

鈥淲e can never afford to be depoliticized and we can never depoliticize actions in the past,鈥 Ash said. 鈥淲e will do well in retrospect 鈥 In 20 years, I'm sure there will be a library (archive) about all of us.鈥

Tom Li

Tom Li is a Metro Editor covering the Health & Environment and Development & Infrastructure beats. He is from Pleasanton, California, and is concentrating in Economics, International & Public Affairs and French & Francophone Studies. He is an avid RIPTA enthusiast and enjoys taking (and criticizing) personality tests in his free time.

Julia Vaz

Julia Vaz is a Metro editor covering the environment and crime and justice beats. She is a sophomore from Brazil studying Political Science and Literary Arts.聽

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