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Hosted by the Tufts Students for Justice in Palestine 

2014 Conference Announcement: 

Dear Students, Allies, and Friends,

We are excited to announce that the 2014 National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference will take place on October 24-26th at Tufts University! This year’s conference is themed Beyond Solidarity: Resisting Racism and Colonialism from the U.S. to Palestine.

At last year’s conference at Stanford University, From Margin to Center: Connecting Struggles, Forging a National Movement, we concluded with a panel on joint struggle. The term “joint struggle” represents the work of acting together to resist the systems that oppress our respective communities–sometimes in ways that overlap and other times in ways that are very specific.

Joint struggle means that a victory for one group should also strengthen and advance the movements we are connected with. It comes from an understanding that oppression will never cease to exist for a group unless all oppressed groups are free. For the members of the National SJP steering committee, we have appreciated the solidarity we have received nationally from groups like MEChA and Anakbayan, and we hope to build on both new and existing relationships.

The summer’s events in Palestine and across the U.S., specifically in Ferguson, have clearly shown the connections between racist and colonial oppression in both locations, sparking transnational solidarity and consciousness raising. It is in the spirit of forming a stronger global movement to liberate all peoples that we dedicate this year’s conference to not only strengthening solidarity, but moving from expressing it with words to expressing it by committing to self-education and concrete joint action.

In addition to the theme described above, this year’s conference will focus on building our movement through political and skills development, as well as critical discussions about our work and role in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine. The 2014 National SJP Conference will aim to achieve the following goals:

  1. This conference will highlight building joint struggle by providing space to learn directly from other national grassroots movements on concrete and intentional actions that we can take to advance all struggles. We will focus on anti-black racism, the ongoing colonization and occupation of indigenous lands and peoples, and the violence against Black, indigenous and migrant people in the U.S. by deepening ties with those who are already organizing against such oppressive forces. This will tie into a focus on militarism as a transnational problem, which arises from collaboration of police, military and intelligence organizations. We will discuss how we can support national movement building emerging out of Ferguson, as resisting militarism becomes a transnational conversation.
  2. This conference will delve into why and how the struggle for Palestine is a feminist issue. We will further understand how settler colonialism is racialized and gendered and disproportionately affects women and children. We will also look into the increased violence against Palestinian women and women refugees and migrants in Israel.
  3. This conference will create a space for critical discussion on confronting all forms of racism within our movement through reflection, self-accountability and movement accountability. We will also focus on continuing to combat all forms of Judeophobia/anti-Semitism and conflation of Zionism with Judaism.
  4. This conference will focus on confronting Islamophobic and Western liberal responses to resistance in Palestine, which relegate Palestinians and their allies to the position of the “non-human Other.” We will discuss how these responses contribute to the dominant Western narrative of the Orientalist discourse, specifically how it impacts our movement and how to resist delegitimation efforts.
  5. This conference will help break down the term “decolonization” from a “sexy” social justice buzzword to a lived, feasible experience and practice. We will work to define what colonization and decolonization mean, and what it means to decolonize oneself and the movement.
  6. This conference will give students the opportunity to discuss and organize around ways to resist institutional and administrative censorship of Palestine solidarity organizers and Muslim and Arab students on campus, who are often targeted and silenced.
  7. This conference will provide the necessary knowledge and tools to counter efforts by Zionist organizations to normalize and whitewash the Israeli occupation as a means of undermining student groups organizing on campus around Palestinian rights.
  8. This conference will delve deeper into the successes and failures of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns locally and nationally; in addition to sharing resources and best practices in order to strengthen the effectiveness of the movement.

In the coming weeks, we will provide further information about conference logistics and registration. For now, we ask that local SJP chapters, and other Palestine solidarity groups, begin to make plans to attend the conference. We also ask supporters to kindly consider making a donation to support student travel, so that lack of resources does not stop activists across the country from attending the conference and sharing their knowledge and skills.

We hope to see you at Tufts!

In solidarity,

The National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee

Hosted by the Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights

2013 Conference Announcement:

Dear Students, Allies, and Friends,

We are excited and proud to announce that the 2013 National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference will take place on the weekend of October 25th at Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California.

Hosted by Stanford Students for Palestinian Equal Rights (SPER), this year’s conference will focus on shifting our work from the margins to the center by connecting struggles and forging a national movement. Conference organizers have built on the vision outlined by students at last year’s conference at the University of Michigan, and will focus on building our movement through political and skill development, as well as critical discussions about our work and role in the struggle for Palestinian liberation.

In the coming weeks, we will provide further information about conference logistics and registration. For now, we ask that local SJP chapters, and other Palestine solidarity groups, begin to make plans to attend the conference. We also ask supporters to kindly consider making a donation to support student travel, so that lack of resources does not stop activists across the country from attending the conference and sharing their knowledge and skills.

In addition to the theme described above, this Conference will aim to achieve the following goals:

[1] This conference will create space for a critical discussion on solidarity. By providing an opportunity for students to examine current frame(s) of reference, we hope to generate thoughtful discussions on the relationship between the student movement and PalestinianShatat* communities.

[2] This conference will offer students the tools to resist oppression within our own groups and organizing spaces, while we continue our struggle against larger systems of oppression. The struggle for Palestinian liberation is deeply intertwined with the fight against patriarchy (sexism, homophobia, cissexism, ableism), racism, and capitalism and we must create mechanisms to help us challenge oppressive behavior internally. The freer we are of internal repressions, the better we are able to resist external ones.

[3] This conference will provide opportunity for further education on issues that affect Palestinians across the world. By deepening our understanding of the demands and needs of Palestinian communities both within the Shatat* and historic Palestine, the student movement can be more informed, and in turn, more accountable in our actions.

[4] This conference will contribute to the national movement, building upon the work of previous years in constructing National Students for Justice in Palestine. Through this process, we will strengthen the student network, making it a living reality.

[5] This conference will highlight concrete political action as a critical element of solidarity, recognizing that visible victories are crucial tools in the effort to both broaden our movement, and link our movement to other struggles.

In solidarity,
The National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee

*Diaspora is a rough but inexact translation of the word Shatat.

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2012 Conference Announcement:

The National Students for Justice in Palestine Steering Committee calls on all current student activists to join us at the University of Michigan for the 2nd National Students for Justice in Palestine Conference, from November 2nd to November 4th, 2012.

As we continue organizing for justice in Palestine on our respective campuses and in our local communities, our growth, numerous victories, and collective struggle requires that we begin building bridges and breaking barriers between our campuses. As students on forefront of social change, it has become imperative that we connect our struggle with all those who seek justice and freedom from oppression. United, we can turn our organizing efforts at the local level into a united, nationwide campaign to better achieve liberation and justice for Palestine.

ELIGIBILITY

This conference is specifically geared toward:

  1. Current student Palestine solidarity activists,
  2. Students looking to establish a campus Palestine solidarity student group,
  3. Alumni actively involved in their SJP group and endorsed by current members.

It is strongly suggested that at least one participant from each school be of junior, sophomore, or freshman class standing, in other words a non-graduating student. It may become necessary, based on capacity and interest, to limit the number of representatives from each student group, but at this stage groups should try to send at least two delegates.

GOALS

This year, we plan to accomplish the following goals: 

  1. Continue to build a National SJP structure that is a powerful and united support and organizing network for local chapters.
  2. Further local SJP campaigns, particularly Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions efforts.
  3. Link local SJPs with other national and international organizations, so that they have better access to outreach, speakers, and funding.
  4. Provide training on topics ranging from starting a campus education or BDS campaign to addressing criticism from Zionist and pro-normalization organizations, to conducting outreach and fundraising.
  5. Unite local SJPs with struggles for justice in the United States and internationally.

ORGANIZATION

 It is critical that as many students as possible participate in shaping the conference and making it a success. We call on students from groups across the country to volunteer for the organizational committees that will put this conference together. To join a committee, please email the address provided with your name, school, phone number, SJP group name, and the contact details of a leader of your SJP chapter (so that each organizer can be identified for security purposes).

Coordinating – nsjp.coordinating@gmail.com
Programming – nsjp.programming@gmail.com
Press and public relations – nsjp.ppr@gmail.com
Fundraising and finance – nsjp.ff@gmail.com
Logistics - nsjp.logistics@gmail.com
Marketing/outreach - nsjp.outreach@gmail.com

COSTS

NSJP will make every effort to support travel for students. Our budget for travel subsidies depends on fundraising, and we hope that supporters publicize and donate to the conference, and that local SJP chapters attempt to raise funds themselves. Our goal is to have a conference attended by SJP members across the nation, and we are committed to not letting financial burdens discourage attendance.

Please assist us in covering the expenses of this conference by donating through our fundraising page.

This is an exciting time for SJP chapters across the country, and this upcoming conference promises to be a launching pad for amazing student organizing in the year to come. But we cannot do it without you. Please join us in working to build a stronger national student solidarity movement.

 

2011 Conference Announcement:

Dear Students,

It is with great pleasure that we invite you to the 2011 National Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) Conference at Columbia University in the City of New York from 14-16 October 2011.

Over the past couple of months, a number of student activists from SJPs and other student groups focused on Palestine from around the country have been laying the foundations for a national SJP conference to be held in Fall 2011. This group emerged from a discussion which took place on the national SJP listserv and has met a number of times via teleconference. This letter is a summary of our work so far and an appeal for students nationwide to become involved in organising the conference.

Goals & Objectives

The objective of this conference is to democratically shape and refine the existing network of SJP groups in the United States, building on the momentum these groups have generated in recent years and strengthening the historical movement of which we are all a part. The proposed goals of the conference are as follows:

Movement Building: This conference aims to develop coordination and cooperation between different student groups working for justice in Palestine within the United States and to determine the nature and intensity of this coordination moving forward.

Campaign Building: This conference aims to facilitate and support the advancement of existing campaigns and the development of new campaigns with particular (but not exclusive) emphasis on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Political Development: This conference aims to stimulate thought and debate on a small number of critical political issues integral to the work of student groups working for justice in Palestine.

Skill Development: This conference aims to provide student groups with the tools and skills necessary to develop educational programs, plan and execute campaigns, and train their peers to better communicate with one another and with other members of the student body.

These goals reflect the critical issues that SJP groups will collectively address at this conference; the first is seen as the most crucial. These are proposed goals and we are eager to begin a national dialogue about these and other aspects of the conference (see below).

Committees

Six working groups have been proposed that will organize different components of the conference; they are listed below. It is critical that as many students from groups nationwide participate in these committees and contribute to shaping the conference. To join a committee, please email the address provided with your name, school, phone number, SJP group name, and the contact details of a leader of your SJP chapter (so that each organizer can be identified for security purposes). The coordinating committee will be restructured to include representatives from each of the other committees and regional representatives.

Coordinating – nsjp.coordinating@gmail.com
Programming – nsjp.programming@gmail.com
Press and public relations – nsjp.ppr@gmail.com
Fundraising and finance – nsjp.ff@gmail.com
Logistics – nsjp.logistics@gmail.com
Marketing/outreach – nsjp.outreach@gmail.com

Questions

To begin the process of involving student groups, below are some questions to discuss with your group. In the coming weeks, an online forum will be developed to allow for a national dialogue on these issues.

Does your SJP want to participate in the National SJP Conference? If not, why not?

Do the stated objectives fit with what you think the conference should be about?

What does each objective mean for your SJP? What would you like to get from (or contribute to) each one?

Do you think we should limit the number of delegates from each SJP group? If so, at what number?

What kind of support or resources do you need to get delegates from your SJP to the conference in NYC?

Eligibility

This conference is specifically geared towards current student Palestine solidarity activists, including current students actively involved in, or looking to establish, a SJP group or a similar Palestine solidarity student group, as well as alumni actively involved in assisting their former SJP group. All alumni should be endorsed by the current student group. It is strongly suggested that at least one participant from each school be non-graduating and that alumni not outnumber students in any SJP’s delegation. It may become necessary, based on capacity and interest, to limit the number of representatives from each student group, but at this stage groups should look to send at least two delegates.

Online Discussion

To begin the process of collectively contributing to the conference an online survey and comments page has been created. This page also provides more information on some of the issues above. Please visit: http://tiny.cc/rajf3.

To succeed the planning of this conference needs to be a democratic process involving as many students as possible, and we hope you will become involved. We are confident that this conference will provide a momentous opportunity for students across the United States who are mobilizing for justice in Palestine to exchange ideas and to strengthen the national student movement.

Sincerely,

The Ad Hoc National SJP Conference Planning Committee