DEARBORN — On Tuesday, November 20, the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at the University of Michigan-Dearborn hosted its second art expo dedicated to the theme of resistance and spreading awareness of oppression.
The event, which follows up on one held in 2016, featured artwork submitted and presented by students at the university, including drawings, paintings and photographs, among other works of art, concerning the theme of resistance and what it means to them. There were also refreshments and music.
Sponsors of the event include the Arab Student Union and the Public Health Society at U of M-Dearborn.
As a pro-Palestinian college student activism organization known across many campuses in the United States, Canada and New Zealand, SJP campaigns for boycotts and divestment against corporations that deal with Israel. The group aims to organize various Palestine Awareness Week events and increase awareness of Israel’s responsibility for hate crimes.
Students for Justice in Palestine was formed in 1993 and now there are various independent chapters across North America.
The motto of SJP is “From local roots to nationwide branches: Bridging student movements.”
The main goal is to work in solidarity with the Palestinian people and support their right to self-determination. The SJP is committed to ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of all Arab lands, as it calls for respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.
Jasmine Rabie, SJP’s president at U of M-Dearborn, said the event allowed the group to explain the oppression that comes in many forms while fighting for Palestinian rights and resistance, and that the same oppression can affect many others.
The event was named as a Palestinian culture night, Rabie said.
“It was a showcase of art allowing other students to interpret artwork that may speak for itself,” she said. “An art piece may show resistance through suffering without needing words; and a poem someone performs allows them to share their own experience of struggle.”
Art pieces depicted the war-torn monstrosities of oppression and the perspective of the artists was to deliver a message of resistance.
As to SJP at U of M-Dearborn, its mission is to successfully deliver a perspective that is never told on campus.
“Not only do we want to educate our campus community, but we want to deliver action and create real change — like divestment and boycotting Israeli products on campus,” members of the organization wrote on its Facebook page.
Other events organized by U of M-Dearborn’s chapter include “Eye Witness Palestine”, in which local Palestinians speak about their life-changing experiences in June 1967 and about what it means to be a Palestinian in the United States.
The organization overall promotes social justice, human rights, liberation, equality and self-determination for the Palestinian people on campus. The group serves to send the message that freedom is for everyone, no matter their color or ethnicity.