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The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

The Student News Site of Saint Louis University

The University News

OccupySLU hosts sit-in at campus Starbucks in support of Gaza ceasefire

Students participate in the on-campus Starbucks sit-in in support of a ceasefire in Gaza on Jan. 25 and 26. (Abby Campbell / The University News). (Abby Campbell)

OccupySLU, a student organization continuing the work from the original 2014 movement, organized a two day student sit-in at Starbucks to protest SLU’s “complicit role in the genocide of Gaza,” organizers said.

The sit-in was scheduled for Jan. 25-26 from 3 p.m. to closing time, which was 5 p.m.. Students were advised to do homework, wear their kufiyas and bring their signs in support of the cause. 

The reason for targeting Starbucks was due to the company suing its labor union for showing support for Palestine. Students across the country have also been speaking out against Starbucks for alleged mistreatment of their employees. 

Sophomore, Amanda Jorgensen joined the sit-in on Jan. 26 because she said she was concerned for her fellow Palestinian and Muslim classmates. 

Jorgensen claimed she had professors who were “pro-Israeli” and “constantly belittle the students who have spoken out” in support of Palestine. 

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“I feel really upset and angered by how SLU’s leadership has responded to any notion of pro-Palestinian students,” Jorgensen said.

As a nursing student, she also pointed out the skyrocketing disability cases caused by Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.  

Although only 12 students participated in the sit-in, junior Birch Fabregas, insisted that “there’s power in our collective bodies.” The sign she held up read “Stop the nightmare bus,” referencing a poem by the Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish.

Another student, junior Lyla Perrelli, who is majoring in nursing, sat next to the entrance and gave out flyers to incoming customers. The flyers had phrases such as “free Gaza”, “Is coffee worth having blood on your hands?” and “New Flavor, Bloody Matcha” with a picture of a blood-stained cup of matcha.

Signs  in support of Gaza were posted during the sit-in for Starbucks customers to read (Abby Campbell / The University News) (Abby Campbell)

“I believe that the Palestinian genocide is a genocide and I would like for SLU to recognize that,” Perrelli said. 

On the Dec. 23rd of last year, the Republic of South Africa accused Israel of committing genocide and took them to the International Court of Justice. Last Friday the ICJ ruled that Israel should “take all measures within its power to prevent” any acts of genocide yet they did not demand an immediate ceasefire.  

While handing out the flyers Perrelli said she was questioned by a professor on what their cause was. She claimed the professor told her that “as a professor she should be bipartisan.” Perrelli stated that she didn’t believe it was a bipartisan issue. “It’s a human rights matter,” she said. 

This sit-in comes nearly four months into the war and as students continue to hold actions at universities across the country in solidarity with Palestinians. 

Students at Webster University, Washington University and the University of Missouri-St. Louis coordinated a walk-out and rallied at the St. Louis County Council on Jan. 23 to demand a ceasefire resolution.

Following a push from city residents and activists, on Jan. 12 the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

Students organizing with OccupySLU said they will continue campus actions, including sit-ins,until SLU meets their demands of divestment from corporations like Boeing and Starbucks and stand in solidarity with Palestinians.

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About the Contributor
Abby Campbell, Photography Editor
Abby (she/her/hers) is a senior at SLU studying Integrated Strategic Communication. This is her third year with the Unews as photography editor, and she cannot wait for another year with the Unews team. In her free time she enjoys cooking, watching reality tv, and, of course, taking pictures!
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