The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

The news site of Evanston Township High School's student newspaper

The Evanstonian

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Students hold sit-in protest in support of Palestinian cause

Students+occupied+H-Hall%2C+the+high+school%E2%80%99s+main+walkway+leading+into+the+main+lobby.
Esteve Lerga
Students occupied H-Hall, the high school’s main walkway leading into the main lobby.

On Monday, Dec. 18, ETHS students led a sit-in protest in support of a ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israeli occupation. It was the longest sit-in protest in ETHS history; several dozen students gathered in the lobby at 8:30 a.m., and continued to sit and chant until around 9:40 a.m. Almost every student held a handmade sign or Palestinian flag.

Arranged by students in collaboration with ETHS’ Muslim Student Association (MSA), the entire planning process took around a week, taking inspiration from a similar protest at Niles West High School. ETHS administrators were contacted prior to the event, and it was supervised by safety staff and several teachers.

One of the organizers, G.A., explained the intention behind the protest.

“It’s a humanitarian crisis and there should be no backlash in addressing this issue. There’s children, women and innocent civilians dying every day, [and] I’m tired of seeing people beg for their lives,” she said. “If we allow this to continue in Gaza, it is also us who accept to live in a world where [this] is okay. I will never live in a world that accepts this as the norm.”

As for the scene of the protest itself, a number of students who participated felt satisfied with the turnout and proud of their cause. G.A. expressed gratitude for the amount of support the protest received.

“The hardest part was garnering support from students and encouraging them to participate,” she said. “As someone who planned it, I felt pleased and gratified that so many students showed up to show their support and pride for Palestine.”

In an email and announcement on the PA system following the protest, Superintendent Dr. Marcus Campbell reminded students that the sit-in was not officially authorized by the school, but emphasized the importance of allowing students to demonstrate their views, while also ensuring the safety of every student. Assistant Superintendent and Principal Dr. Taya Kinzie also spoke with participants after the protest.

“While ETHS didn’t officially sanction the student-led sit-in, we respect our students’ rights to express their views about issues that are important to them,” Campbell wrote in his email, sent to all students and their families. “We appreciate that the student organizers kept us informed during their demonstration at ETHS, so we were able to coordinate efforts to protect everyone’s safety.”

Student coordinators of the sit-in felt that the ETHS administration was quite supportive and appreciated the emphasis on safety, even when they protested for longer than their allotted time.

“We even pushed the boundaries by protesting longer than the given time, but we were given the voice to reconsider our options rather than immediately receive disciplinary punishment,” G.A. said. “[It] was considerate and definitely appreciated.”

“The best part of all was hearing everyone’s support and courage through the chants,” she continued. “Overall, [I’d say] it was remarkable and highly successful.”

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About the Contributor
Nadira Bumi, Staff Writer
Hi! My name is Nadira Bumi, and I’m a writer for the News section. I’m a junior, and although this is my first year in The Evanstonian, I am excited to contribute as a writer!  Outside of school, I play piano and the electric guitar. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends, cooking, reading, and crocheting.
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