A coalition of campus organizations will hold a full-fledged peace rally on Library Mall at noon Thursday culminating with a march down State Street to the Capitol.
In reaction to continued concerns about U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and the targeting of Arab Americans, student leaders from over 100 campuses across the nation are holding these rallies. The “National Day of Action Against Scapegoating Arab Americans and to Stop the War” was called to action by the University of California-Berkeley and Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
According to rally emcee Carl Camacho of the Multi-Cultural Student Coalition, a series of student, faculty and community speakers will speak out against the war. The protesters will then venture up to the Capitol for additional speakers and the presentation of a petition to U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.
While Baldwin will not be present at the rally, Camacho hopes she will get the message.
“Her voting [to support U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan] and the racism and the hate crimes going on and the innocent crimes combined have made us culminate together,” Camacho said. “Students have the obligation of holding their elected representatives accountable; we want to let her know how we feel on the issue.”
Sarah Kaikow, a member of Al-Awda, the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition, said she does not support U.S. intervention into foreign countries.
“We want to stop terrorism,” Kaikow said. “But more death is not the answer.”
The newly formed Stop the War Coalition at University of California-Berkeley said the nationwide rally is intended to push three principles: stopping the war, ending harassment against Arab Americans and protecting civil liberties.
“There’s been a call that Muslims need to be searched and screened — basically limiting their civil liberties,” Camacho said.
The protestors are also demanding that UW Chancellor John Wiley issue a statement entitled “A Statement Against Hate Crimes and Racism.”
The rally is sponsored by a combination of various activist groups ranging from UW-Greens to the Multi-Cultural Student Coalition.
“We all came together with our connections and synchronized our momentum,” Camacho said.
Speakers for Thursday’s peace rally include Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive Magazine; Florencia Mallon, UW professor of Latin Studies; Tshaka Barrows, a student activist; Mary Layoun, Comparative Literature professor; and Chirs Khoury of Al-Awda.