A witness to history: Report from the UC Irvine divestment vote

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How many times I have read about historic events, listened to the stories told by those who were there, and wondered… Countless times I have looked at photos, and seen movies and gotten lost in thoughts of what it must have been like, what it must have felt like… But this time I was there. Tonight I was there.

Tonight, along with over 100 others packed around the perimeter of a room, lining the walls, spilling out of the doors into the hall. Tonight I was there, seeing what it looked like, hearing what it sounds like and feeling what it felt like while history was being made. I was there as a guest speaker at a meeting of UC Irvine’s Student Legislative Council as they listened to comments, watched an impassioned presentation and made statements of their own. And then they proceeded to unanimously pass a resolution for “Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid”.

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The scene inside the UC Irvine vote.
(Photo: IrvineDivest/Instagram)

Tonight I watched student activists who have worked on moving this mountain for years; come together with grad students, alumni and student legislators to make history. One by one they proudly spoke of what it means for them to do this together. They spoke about the importance of what they were doing- not for themselves, but for the people who’s lives, dreams and homes are being crushed every day. The spoke of the proud history of activism at UC Irvine, and other schools, and the roll those movements have played in achieving human and civil rights. They spoke about taking their place in that history of moving humanity forward. They spoke of what it means to be the first UC campus to pass a divestment resolution to counter the human rights violations of Israel against the Palestinian people, and the ripple effects that the collective action they would take tonight will have on the future. The spoke respectfully and with resolve.

They didn’t speak about what this action might do or could do, they spoke about what it will do. They know in their hearts and souls that they are on the right side of the historic arc of justice and collectively they leaped to grab the tip and bend it further.

It was a beautiful sight to see, it felt wonderful.

Tonight I was there.

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