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Doing the Work to Make a Difference: Interview with University of Windsor’s Palestinian Solidarity Group

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

After generations of bloodshed, segregation, disenfranchisement, and evictions, the Palestinian people and their land have remained an apartheid state under Isreali rule. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinian men, women, and children continue to be regularly displaced and targetted, with the Canadian government failing to even acknowledge the injustice taking place. Fortunately, organizations such as The Palestinian Solidarity Group (PSG) at the University of Windsor bring a plateform forf Palestinian people to help raise awareness for the blatant inequity taking place. I’ve recently sat down with the President of Windsor’s PSG to discuss these issues and underline how our community can make a difference. For their safety, the President has requested to stay anonymous, so any names or identifying information will be omitted from this article. 

Please introduce yourself and your role with the Palestian Solidarity Group. 

I am the PSG President. I have been involved with PSG for three years, and have been the president for two of those years. 

For those who don’t know, can you explain what the Palestine Solidarity Group does?

The Palestine Solidarity group is a student activist group that aims to raise awareness about Palestine and Palestinian human rights to educate the masses. So, our group was created in 2013, and since then we’ve helped launch numerous campaigns, host many protests, and have mobilized people to come together and advocate about Palestine and come together for Palestine. 

The PSG has held several protests in the Windsor area. How has the local support been for your cause? 

The local support was great back in May. We had over 1000 people show up to our protest. However, there is still a lot of work to be done. Like any other Palestinian solidarity group, we are met with aggression, racism, islamophobia, and hostile messages. Even though most of the community has been great in supporting Palestine, we [Palestinians] were particularly targetted during our summer protests from this past year, in which the police were giving out major fines to Palestinian protestors who attended our rallies. They had very petty excuses such as noise violations or waving a Palestinian flag out of their car. Even now, people are still trying to pay back those hefty fines that were given during May and the following months. 

So the police presence was definitely a major issue and posed a risk to our community members, and our PSG group members’ safety because at one point there were around 20 cop cars. That resulted in protestors feeling very uneasy due to the aggressive presence. They’re heavy presence and attempts to take pictures of protesters’ faces got out of hand to the point that they were getting into people’s personal space. At one point, an officer came up to one of the people with their own camera and was so close to their face trying to grab a picture of them so they could charge them. It was events like these which made it harder for Palestinian people, who are already grieving the loss of their people, families, and friends. While we were grieving on the streets, we were having cameras in our faces so people could publize us and blackmail us. It was just very disgusting. 

What are some of the best ways people can advocate for the Palestianin people?

One of the best ways people can advocate for Palestinian people is by doing the work, and the work typically starts off by thoroughly educating yourself on the history of Palestine and the issues that Palestinians face today. This can be done by reading academic texts, getting involved with your local Palestinian groups, watching documentaries, and following well-known Palestinian activists. Other ways are by uplighting Palestinian voices without speaking over them or demeaning our experiences. You can also attend protests and events, help out in the organizing process of these events, support Palestinian creators and businesses, or send monetary support to the people in Gaza. Also, always talk about Palestine whether it’s with your family, friends, acquaintances, classmates basically anywhere. The more you talk about Palestine with anyone and everyone, the more likely they will become educated and be more involved. 

How can people become involved or contribute to the PSG? 

The ways people can become more involved with or contribute to PSG is joining the committees we offer. We offer many positions and are always looking to take on new members. Some committees we have created are the social media committee and the events committee. These were created to encourage young people and non-University of Windsor students to help organize and advocate for Palestine, since we are currently one of the very few Palestinian groups in Windsor. We have created these committees to encourage people outside the University to get involved no matter their school status, because at the end of the day we are a Palestinian solidarity group and we encourage many Palestinian activsts to get involved. 

Does the PSG have any events coming up you’d like to promote? 

PSG is currently in the works of figuring that out and creating more upcoming events and campaigns. I get notified about any events and campaigns, and you can visit our Instagram account @psguwindsor for any updates. We’re still currently organising our members and deciding our agenda for the next school year. 

Find out more about Windsor’s Palestinian Solidarity Group through visiting their Instagram, Facebook, or reaching out to them via windsorpsg@gmail.com
The PSG was gracious enough to provide several resources to further educate yourself about Palestine. These include CJPME, BDS Movement, Decolonize Palestine, IMEU, and Visualizing Palestine, along with several Instagram activist accounts such as Eye on Palestine, Key48, Mohammed El-Kurd, Muna ElKurd, IMEU, Quds News Network, and Within Our Lifetime

Abby is a fourth year English Language and Literature student with a minor in Psychology. She enjoys horror movies, over-priced Starbucks drinks, and a good wholesome meme. After graduation, Abby's goal is to find a career in publishing.
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