The mood in the room was electric. So many students showed up to provide public comment that it became necessary to let them in one at a time because the room was over-capacity for most of the public comments portion of the council meeting. While there was opposition, an overwhelming majority of students from various backgrounds spoke about why they felt compelled to support the resolution, and what connections they drew between their own personal stories and histories and the plight of their Armenian peers and their families.
SJP is inspired by this milestone victory for our allies, the Armenian Students Association, and we hope that this decisive occurrence, as well as the organizing efforts that are sure to follow, will help pave the way for long-overdue reparations, acknowledgement of the grave injustice committed against the Armenians by the Ottoman Empire and its perpetuation by the Republic of Turkey, the legalization of genocide recognition by the Republic of Turkey, and formal apologies to the families of genocide victims.
Additionally, we see the passing of another divestment resolution as one more historic step towards ethical finance in education and investment reform. Contrary to the tired trope of divestment being “divisive,” we have repeatedly seen students from various backgrounds who represent a range of political and social justice causes uniting around the common goals of ethical investments on the part of the Regents, greater student oversight in how tuition dollars are invested, and ending students’ financial complicity in the oppression of our family members, communities, and the loved ones of our allies and peers. The success of the ASA, and the intersectional support they received from student organizations and individuals acting in solidarity, suggests that it is only a matter of time before these goals are fully realized.