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Group's weekly vigil on FGCU's campus shows support for Gaza

 A protestor at the FGCU For Palestine regular protest on the FGCU campus.
FGCU For Palestine
/
WGCU
A protestor at the FGCU For Palestine regular protest on the FGCU campus.

Though their actions are more region-specific, FGCU for Palestine aims to make their efforts felt thousands of miles away.

In the midst of the Israel-Palestine war, a group of FGCU students has taken a stand to support the people of Gaza. FGCU For Palestine was founded last October following the thousands of Palestinian deaths after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel’s Gaza settlements that killed over a thousand Israelis and took hundreds hostage.

It started when a member of the Biden administration doubted the Palestinian death count released by the Gaza Ministry of Health. A few people started reading the names of the killed Palestinians on FGCU’s library lawn, but the death toll became too large to share every casualty.

Now, the group holds a weekly vigil in the same location, flying flags, displaying signs, and sharing information about the ongoing war. Co-founder Fatimah Boyle emphasized that the best thing FGCU For Palestine can aim for with these demonstrations is visibility.

"No matter how few people come, lots of people see us, you know, we have lots of discussions," Boyle said. "And I think, at this stage, you know, in this area, that's the most important thing you can do right now."

Though their actions are more region-specific, FGCU for Palestine aims to make their efforts felt thousands of miles away. Traditional Palestinian scarves and other items are for sale with all proceeds going to a chef in Gaza.

With SWFL’s political shade decidedly red, pro-Israel sentiments here are the norm. Boyle, alongside co-founder Hamza Innab, a Palestinian-American FGCU student, welcome discourse.

"We encourage counter protests, because it'll create more of a sense to where we can actually have discussion," Innab said.

"I'd rather be on a politically active campus that was that had a lot of counter protest," Boyle said.

FGCU for Palestine is one of very few student organizations on campus dedicated to activism. On a number of U.S. college campuses, politically active young people are coming into their own, and want to have their voices heard. For some that can be it’s difficult when those opportunities don’t already exist.

FGCU student and FGCU for Palestine affiliate Kat Escalona thinks the group’s presence has encouraged student civic engagement and local action.

"There are a lot of people who would try activism if only given the chance," Escalona said. "I think this presenting a chance right in front of someone is a great way to actually bring people into this sort of action."

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Copyright 2024 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Emma Rodriguez