Starbucks sit-in to show solidarity with Palestine

starbucksStudents made signs and brought Palestinian flags to demonstrate support | Menah-Alla Ahmed, PantherNOW

Menah-Alla Ahmed | Contributing Writer

Over a dozen students attended a sit-in study session at MANGO Starbucks on Wednesday, Nov. 29 to show their solidarity with Palestine and boycott the company.

The sit-in was organized by Students for Justice in Palestine at FIU — its activity has continued despite the ban on the organization in the Florida State University System, as it has not officially registered as a student organization at FIU.

This is not the first protest the campus has seen and comes off the heels of several boycotts

Students came throughout the day to show their support for Palestine. SJP provided Arab coffee and sweets to those who participated.

Tara Mahmoud, a student at FIU and one of the organizers for this event stressed the importance of protests.

“We continue to always bring attention to what’s going in Gaza. A lot of people are unaware or just don’t know enough about it and they think it doesn’t really affect them but it is a really important issue that does affect the students at the school,” said Mahmoud.

“The most important thing it does is it keeps those involved feeling like a community. It’s just bringing a lot of momentum to our movement and it’s waking up a lot of people.” 

Mahmoud works at Starbucks and gave her perspective on what students who work at Starbucks could do.

“Work on organizing a union at your Starbucks, talk to the workers, gauge how they feel. Let them know as Starbucks baristas our company is not supporting us,” said Mahmoud.

Mahmoud mentioned future plans for actions to support the cause. 

She also left a message for the students at FIU.

“It’s really important to just keep remembering what you’re fighting for, don’t forget about Palestine. Keep it in your hearts every day,” she said.

Mahmoud spoke at length on the conflict being greater than just Palestine, and the importance of recognizing all those who are seeking liberation.

“Keep Congo, keep Sudan in your hearts every day, and just remember that we’re fighting for the liberation of all people and not just Palestine,” said Mahmoud.

Elizabeth Nagib is a biology and natural life science major at FIU and is currently in her senior year. She discussed why she came to the protest on Wednesday.

“We’re showing solidarity with the Palestinian people. We just really want to show people what their money is supporting” said Nagib.

She spoke about the importance for other students to attend events like these.

“The same idea of how we were all there for the black lives matter movement is the same way that people need to be here for the Palestinians. In the same way that people were out there sticking their neck out for people in Ukraine over Russia, they should be doing the same thing with the Palestinian conflict,” said Nagib.

She emphasized that they are not there to spread hate and that they just want their voices heard. 

“We just want to be seen and we want to be understood,” said Nagib.

Nagib also left a message to the SGA and FIU administration.

“We want them to understand that we are also going through pain, that we are human, and at the end of the day we are a community and without that what would we be.” 

The topic of Palestine and Israel drew a substantial amount of attention.

Nisreen Lutfi, a student, shared her appreciation for the community they’ve created.

“We are a minority here and we are sitting in the community now. It’s nice to the numbers and the unity and come together,” said Lutfi.

She explained the history between Palestine and Israel, emphasizing the significant damage that has been done in Palestine.

“This is something that has been going on for a  very long time and unfortunately it took the lives of so many lost for it to have the attention it has now,” said Lutfi.

Lutfi condemned the actions of Israel as well.

“It’s ethnic cleansing and it’s not okay at all,” said Lutfi.

Lutfi discussed the damaging misconceptions regarding Arabs and Muslims.

“We are always labeled as terrorists, that we are hostile. No, we are not, we are reading books, talking in community, having conversations studying. We are just like anyone else and it is really unfortunate that the media, particularly Western media can never portray that.”

To conclude, she encouraged students to take action and educate themselves.

“Using your voice is the bare minimum you can do whether it’s on your platform, showing up to an event, a protest, a demonstration. Educate yourself. It’s a very easy thing to do with the number of resources we have now.”

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