Students for Peace: Protest, Demands, and Plans

Students For Peace, a student-led group, organized a protest on November 6, 2023 to vocalize their discontent with the war in Gaza. Now, the group seeks to extend their reach to additional humanitarian causes.
Students For Peace, a student-led group, organized a protest on November 6, 2023 to vocalize their discontent with the war in Gaza. Now, the group seeks to extend their reach to additional humanitarian causes.
Mhambi Musonda

The Gaza Health Ministry reported on February 10, 2024 that the death toll in the Gaza Strip surpassed 28,064 lives since war broke out between Israel and Hamas on October 7, 2023. College campuses have been grappling with the intricacies of managing civil demonstrations, which are protected under the First Amendment, while simultaneously navigating the various emotional tensions of their student bodies. Students and faculty from colleges across the nation have voiced their anger and despondency for the lives lost in Gaza.

In response, an incipient Montgomery College (MC) group called Students for Peace is demanding justice. Back on November 6, 2023, dozens of local community members gathered on the Rockville Campus green space to demand “an immediate ceasefire, the prompt delivery of humanitarian aid, and an end to the heart-wrenching siege on Gaza,” according to a speech presented by the event organizer, Students for Peace.

Participants at the protest criticized United States tax dollars funding Israel. (Malaika Asif)

“There is a lot of misinformation. They are our neighbors and our brothers and sisters. They are not in some far-away place,” one Students for Peace member replied when inquired about why students should be informed about the conflict in Gaza.

At the event, student leaders distributed handouts with background on the conflict and links to further resources. Additionally, participants held signs, marched, read out stories of Palestinian lives, and spoke their minds. Alumni, community members, and other advocacy groups also attended.

A common saying among supporters of a Free Palestine is, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” (Malaika Asif)

Among those who participated in the demonstration was Peter Gershon, a first-year student majoring in General Studies. Gershon said he participated in the demonstration because “Palestinians are in a position of dehumanization.”

A common concern between organizers and participants such as Gershon, entailed the extent to how much the U.S. and other Western nations should be involved in the conflict, especially when it comes to funding of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). “I don’t think the U.S. and the powers of the West should be so eager to play world police, and so eager to pick a side.” Gershon commented.

MC students including Peter Gershon voiced their opinions. (Mhambi Musonda)

An anonymous Students for Peace representative spoke with the Advocate on the budding group’s protest and future. The group, which describes itself as a “safe space”, focuses on addressing “the human rights concerns of colonialism and state violence beyond the borders of any one individual country.” Moreover, they acknowledged that although the protest focused on what Students for Peace believes is “the ongoing genocide in Palestine,” they intend to extend their reach to the assistance of MC students impacted by “a wide variety of international humanitarian concerns.”

Students for Peace aims to become a formal club in the Spring 2024 semester. Their goals include: “raise awareness and advocate for global justice and humanitarian causes, support network for those affected by international crises, volunteering in the community, mutual aid, emergency preparedness training, film screenings, art projects, [and] bring in educational speakers.”

In addition to the demonstration on the green space, students marched around Rockville Campus. (Mhambi Musonda)

Considering diversity, the group intends to strategically remain culturally relative to support mutual understanding amid different viewpoints at the college. Their ideas: “host panels and discussion groups with facilitators, work with student clubs and Office of Equity and Inclusion, provide a safe space for students to share their cultures through workshops, create space for students to contribute towards social media advocacy and political presentations, [and] connect with Jewish advocacy groups fighting for global justice.”

Students for Peace stated to the Advocate that they have created a positive example of their potential with the success of the peaceful protest. Their spokesperson indicated that students feel eager towards Student’s for Peace’s emergence as a club. Regarding the protest, they believe that “we need to find a way to keep the momentum going.”

Solidarity in solemn times strengthens communities, as Students for Peace noted: “we have shown that when we come together, we can achieve great things. That bodes well for the future.”

Students for Peace aims to tackle “a wide variety of international humanitarian concerns.” (Malaika Asif)

Find Students for Peace on Instagram: @students4peacenow

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About the Contributors
Alana McCarthy Light, Editor in Chief
Editor-in-Chief Alana McCarthy Light captures, coordinates, and edits stories for the MC Advocate. When off-campus, you will find her upcycling, cycling, managing arts events, and more.
Greetings! My name is Mhambi Musonda, a second-year international relations student and a writer for The Advocate. I was attracted to the publication's dedication to sharing stories that showcase the diversity of our campus and community. My aim is to be an emphatic advocate for Rockville campus students, providing them with impartial and informative news.
Apart from attending classes, I enjoy reading, specifically history and non-fiction. Additionally, I have a keen interest in writing, sports, and politics, and I am continually seeking to expand my knowledge.

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