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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

N.C. A&T students peacefully march for Palestine

Anthony Morgan speaks to fellow N.C. A&T students prior to their May 3 march.

On May 3, at the end of N.C. A&T State University’s exam week, around 40 students and community members gathered at the school’s Deese Clock Tower. In the words of freshman Anthony Morgan, the goals of the group were made clear: “We the youth of this nation, of this world, stand today to reaffirm the promise of “‘never again.’

“Nearly 80 years ago, out of the horrors of the Holocaust, the world made a promise,” Morgan said. “A promise of ‘never again.’ Never again to let base difference split us apart. Never again to let that drive us to hatred, to murder, to death,” he said. “Never again will we allow genocide to happen.

“Those are who are right are almost always maligned at first,” Morgan said in an interview after his speech. “It is never easy, but nothing worth doing is easy. We have to unite as one people against violence, and against genocide.”

Following Morgan and a number of other speakers that included sophomore Sabrina Garcia, the crowd began the march from the clock tower to the February One Monument in honor of the Greensboro Four, and in commemoration of the historic Woolworth sit-in campaign.

Led by Garcia, students chanted, “Disclose, divest! We will not stop, we will not rest,” as well as “We must love each other, and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Students also held signs with messages including “Dear Biden, Israelis are not voting in the next election. We are. Ceasefire now,” and “Shame on you Joe Biden.”

Felton Armstrong III, a sophomore, said he attended the march to advocate for “an end to oppression and apartheid in Gaza.” He said he’s also interested in bringing attention to other persecuted peoples such as “those of the Congo and Sudan.”

“At the end of the day, this is the school that helped to kick off the civil rights movement with the Greensboro Four,” Armstrong said. “As an Aggie, I feel like we have a responsibility to continue their legacy of activism, and to put an end to oppression not just here but abroad.

“I would like for A&T to officially divest from any companies that are supporting the occupation,” he said.

Freshman Parker Griffin, one of the march’s organizers and a member of Aggies for Palestine, said, “it’s a movement showing not only the U.S. government but the world that we do not stand for this.”

“We look throughout history and typically universities are the main birthplace for a lot of these protests against wars, genocides, and the oppression of people,” Griffin added.

“Frankly, this is just the beginning,” she said. “We staged a protest because we didn’t have the resources for an encampment, but we wanted to see if we had the support, and it’s clear to us that we do.

“This is to show solidarity with other universities, and also to show A&T and students that we can do something that is much bigger.”

As students rallied around the February One Monument, speakers called for N.C. A&T to divest from corporations such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin, two of the world’s preeminent aerospace companies and suppliers of weapons systems to the U.S. and its allies, including Israel.

According to its website, Lockheed Martin has contributed assets worth $1.45 billion to the Israeli Defense Force since 2004, and is currently contracted to produce another $2.5 billion by 2029.

On its website, Boeing references a relationship with the Israeli air force and IDF dating to the nation’s founding in 1948. The company promotes “75+ years of partnership with Israel.”

“It is a hard thing to imagine,” Griffin said, “because A&T is such a big engineering school, but many don’t realize how deep our other programs are, how deep our culture is regardless of technology.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of ‘Drumline’ the movie,” Griffin said, “but that was based on A&T. We have an amazing theater program and we have a really strong biology department.

“A&T has so much more to offer than engineering and technology; I wish that students saw that more,” she said. “I think if we did divest in those technology programs we would start investing more into the arts which are very underfunded.”

Asked what she believed the response on campus would be going into next fall if the university doesn’t divest from corporations with ties to the Israeli state, Griffin responded: “The main goal of Aggies for Palestine is an encampment to lay the foundation for solidarity with Palestine.”

Griffin said that Guilford students who want to offer solidarity with Palestine in a tangible way should start small. “It doesn’t have to be an elaborate, immediate cut-off.

“Support sending either donations or supplies to Palestine,” Griffin said. “We can get there if we start making it known how we feel.”

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