November 16, 2014: The Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Irvine, and the Irvine Divest community, proudly support the Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA, and the fellow endorsers of the UCLA Divest Campaign. We strongly urge USAC members to be cognizant and just when voting upon this resolution, as it has the potential to reduce our investment in companies that are profiting off of the slaughter of innocent civilians in occupied Palestine.
When UCI students and organizers were given the opportunity to pass the Divestment resolution through ASUCI’s Legislative Council, we were given the chance to recognize our privilege. The privilege to not have our homes demolished illegally by Caterpillar bulldozers. The privilege to not be harassed by HP security systems every time we go to class. The privilege to not have our families massacred by Raytheon missiles. These are all companies our university invests in, and we knew that as UC students, we could not be involved in these human rights violations.
Respected USAC members: You will be voting on something very concise and pertinent. You will not be voting upon the future of the region, nor will you be taking any sides. You will simply be voting to divest from specific companies that are complacently participating in human rights violations. You will be voting to hold the UC system morally responsible for its financial investments, and choosing to be on the right side of history. Do not be fooled by those who try to over-complicate the situation. It is simple: we, as a university community, should not be investing in companies that are participating in human rights violations that have been legally recognized by the United Nations and International Law. We have received innumerable statements of support from all over the world; hundreds of letters from leaders, organizations, and student councils from other countries have all commended our bravery in this fight for justice. The movement to end the Palestinian occupation is strong, and we urge you to stand for justice and human dignity.
We recognize that no issue will ever be agreed upon by every individual. Social movements of resistance in the past were never unanimously agreed upon. We have a tendency to romanticize the past and forget that these issues were “controversial,” and that there were many people who were both for and against it. It was the strong resistance of dedicated individuals and students such as ourselves, that brought forth social justice. The passing of our divestment resolution did not cause our campus to deteriorate in any way. Instead, it has promoted an increasingly positive dialogue that is free of intimidation. Do not let fear of the aftermath with the passing of this resolution be a major concern. UC Irvine has passed it and we did not break into chaos. We are still as strong as ever in our position to divest from companies that are profiting from the occupation in Palestine.
We commend the community members and organizers involved in the UCLA Divest campaign for their unfaltering bravery and sincere dedication. These students and organizers recognize their entanglement in this bloody occupation, and chose not to be complacent with that oppression. Their valiant efforts in the face of violent opposition and hegemonic hindrances shows their compassion to stand for justice for issues that expand beyond the UCLA campus.
The movement towards ending the occupation in Palestine is ongoing and strong, and even if this resolution does not pass through you, it will pass one day. You either get to choose to be the council member that took the brave stance on the right side of history, or be forgotten. UC Irvine made history by becoming the first campus in California to call for divestment from companies profiting from human rights violations. Will you join us?
Respected USAC members, we urge you to vote in favor of this divestment resolution. We offer our utmost support, solidarity, and love to the organizers of UCLA Divest.
Students for Justice in Palestine at UC Irvine