SJP UChicago Creates Installation on Main Quad to Protest Home Demolitions in Palestine
On the morning of February 15, 2022, SJP at the University of Chicago installed 200 signs highlighting the history and reality of Israel’s systematic demolition of Palestinian homes in Al-Naqab, Khalil, Jerusalem, and other regions of Palestine. Visitors to UChicago’s main quadrangle were greeted by large Palestinian flags, captioned pictures of demolished Palestinian homes, and large banners demarcating the region and village of each house, with a QR code linking to additional resources and information.
The poster installation followed an on-campus flyer campaign that highlighted the recent escalation of Israel’s campaign of ethnic cleansing across Palestine. SJP Chicago and the Coalition for Justice in Palestine had organized a city-wide emergency rally to stand in solidarity with families in Sheikh Jarrah, Al Naqab, and Massafer Yatta at the end of January, but the event was canceled due to a snowstorm. Instead, individual SJPs across Chicago planned alternative actions like flyer drops and teach-ins to bring light to the ongoing issue.
After setting up the signs, SJP members, adorned in kuffiyehs, took shifts to answer questions from passersby and ensure the installation remained intact. The signs attracted attention and were a conversation piece for students, faculty, and others throughout the day, with many visitors examining the installation in detail, and sharing photos and the accompanying resource list on social media. Students and faculty, including Palestinians, took hope in the conversations generated by the installation and expressed their excitement that Zionist settler-colonialism and apartheid, issues that have long been suppressed at UChicago, were finally being aired in public.
Attention to the installation did not come free of racist harassment and petty attempts by Zionists to disrupt the display. Nonetheless, the action was successful in sparking conversation on campus about Israel’s systematic dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. SJP UChicago remains active in the face of Zionist attempts to intimidate us, and we will continue to carry on the fight for liberation.
To learn more about recent events in Palestine, check out our resource list and use the hashtags #SaveAlNaqab, #SaveSheikhJarrah, and #SaveYatta on social media.