Hokie Bird (Virginia Tech’s mascot) listening to Remi Kanazi’s poem “Won’t End Apartheid.” February 27th, Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine Virginian Tech Benefit concert
Press release from Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine at Virginin Tech:
Living in the DC/Northern Virginia Metropolitan area, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is not an unfamiliar topic, to a certain extent. However, just a car ride away in Blacksburg, Virginia, in the home of the infamous Hokies, there is not nearly enough coverage of this current issue and a group of select and passionate students made it their mission to wake up the Virginia Tech community to the daily occurrences of illegal atrocities done by the state of Israel on Palestinians.
The newly founded Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine organization is in its second year of actively taking action on their college campus and have held their most successful event yet last night. The SPJP at Virginia Tech organized a Benefit Concert featuring renowned artists Remi Kanazi and Khaled M alongside local talents, where all proceeds made from tickets at the door were donated to the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency). Due to the lack of exposure to the current situation in Palestine, the students who organized this event chose to reach out to their fellow friends and peers via entertainment, in hopes that this would stir interest in a small town that is so heavily dominated by the student population from Virginia Tech.
Not only was this event an initiative to reach out to the Blacksburg community and create better awareness among the public, but it also served as a reminder to Palestinians both on the ground and in the Diaspora that the students at Virginia Tech have not forgotten or ignored the illegal human rights violations that continue to take place by the state of Israel. As President and Founder Lina Noor Barkawi states, “it is our duty to carry the message of Palestinians and project their voices loud and clear, letting not only Blacksburg, but the entire world, know that they will not be left unheard, they will not be silenced, and they are not alone. I am Palestine. We are Palestine.”
Through spoken word, music, comedy, and great company, the group was able to attract a diverse student and faculty audience and through the tickets sold, along with extra donations, the group was able to raise over $450 to donate to the UNRWA; a outstanding accomplishment for the first event of its kind here in Blacksburg, Virginia.