Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Groups reach across borders, organization lines to stand in solidarity

Coalition speaks out about intersectionalities between groups’ struggles
Joey Reuteman

Leaders of several student organizations announced the creation of a new coalition against the social injustices their communities face Thursday night.

Simply named The Coalition, the group released a signed agreement with their different student organization members, stating the goals and hopes The Coalition seeks to combat.

The idea for The Coalition began last year when black and Palestinian activists released a video nationally addressing the challenges each community faced, Valeria Martinez, event organizer and Student for Justice in Palestine member, said.


The parallels the video demonstrated between the groups inspired students at UW to take action and demonstrate solidarity as a campus, Martinez said.

Though the group is a mixture of several student organizations, The Coalition will address large, overarching issues such as institutional injustice and state sanctioned violence as well as their individual challenges, Omer Arain, a Student for Justice in Palestine member, said.

“One thing we all agree on is that we want to address things on campus and greater issues in the world,” Arain said. “In terms of on campus, we want to increase the representation of minorities on campus and want them to feel they are apart of campus.”

Martinez said the coalition wants to recognize each group’s individuality.

Multiple members of the coalition mentioned that historically the majority of UW students have been white, making it extremely important that minority groups work together in order to have their voices heard.

The coalition hopes to build and cultivate identities at the university and provide this space for students to be able to feel comfortable and express themselves, they said.

The event to announce the formation of the coalition featured three different speakers: Kathy Villalon, a Ph.D. student at UW, Todd St. Hill, an organizer for We Charge Genocide’s Cop Watch program and Palestinian activist, Ahmed Hamad.

All three speakers addressed personal challenges and adversity they and their communities have faced.

Speakers presenting at the In Solidarity event. 
Anne Blackbourn/The Badger Herald


Their messages addressed not only their individual struggles, but also how their struggles related to one another.

“We are being oppressed together … Why are we pretending it’s not two sides of the same coin?” Hamad said. 

Villalon also spoke about the need to realize that other groups have blazed ahead in the fight against injustice. To build new groups and coalitions there needs to be an understanding of what previous groups have accomplished and how to use their success to address challenges, she said.

Though the details of their individual struggles may not be the same, Arain said the broader issues of institutional injustices are greater than just a few people.

“If we get people that come to hear maybe about Palestine or Mexico — if they could come out of this event knowing that they are not alone and there are other people in similar situations, though everyone’s struggles are unique, I think that will help us a lot create a strong solidarity movement,” Martinez said.

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