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Evergreen State College Students Vote in Solidarity with Palestine and Farmworkers
by Students for Justice in Palestine at TESC
Monday Jun 13th, 2016 1:10 PM
On May 31, 2016, students at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA voted overwhelmingly to endorse resolutions expressing support for freedom and equality for Palestinians and labor justice for migrant workers at Sakuma Bros farm in northern Washington. The three resolutions asked students to (1.) condemn the presence of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus, to (2.) de-shelve Sabra hummus and (3.) prohibit the use of Sakuma Bros berries from campus dining services.
sm_tesc-boycott.jpg
[ Collage courtesy #BoycottDriscolls ]


PLEASE SHARE /// Press Release for Student Resolutions

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 6, 2016

EVERGREEN STATE COLLEGE STUDENTS VOTE IN SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE AND FARM WORKERS

On May 31, 2016, students at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA voted overwhelmingly to endorse resolutions expressing support for freedom and equality for Palestinians and labor justice for migrant workers at Sakuma Bros farm in northern Washington. The three resolutions asked students to (1.) condemn the presence of Caterpillar Inc. equipment on campus, to (2.) de-shelve Sabra hummus and (3.) prohibit the use of Sakuma Bros berries from campus dining services.

Both Caterpillar and Sabra are complicit in Israeli apartheid and occupation. Caterpillar sells armored bulldozers to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to conduct illegal house demolitions in the Palestinian territories, displacing around 100,000 civilians since 1967. One of Sabra’s parent corporations, Strauss Group, provides material support to elite units of the IDF, the Golani and Givati Brigades, that are infamous for human rights abuses, including during Israel’s latest assaults on Gaza. Sakuma Bros farm is notorious for its exploitative labor practices against a largely immigrant workforce, paying poverty wages in deplorable conditions.

Support for the resolutions was widespread: 67.4% of participating students voted for the Caterpillar resolution while 73.9% voted for de-shelving Sabra and an impressive 84.7% for the Sakuma question. The resolutions also garnered support beyond the campus. The campaign was endorsed by Olympia-based organization Economics for Everyone, Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and political scientist, Norman Finkelstein.

Zayd Zaytoon, an Evergreen student and Olympia activist from Palestine speaks about what the resolutions mean to them, “As a Palestinian student, this vote reaffirms my school’s commitment to not support the oppressors of my family and my lineage and to use its tools to collaborate with other schools across the U.S. through the BDS movement.”

Victories in the first two initiatives continue a long tradition of Palestine solidarity organizing amongst the Evergreen community. In 2003, TESC student, Rachel Corrie was killed by an IDF-operated Caterpillar bulldozer while defending a Palestinian home from demolition. In 2010, students voted overwhelmingly to divest from companies profiting from Israeli occupation and prohibit the use of Caterpillar equipment on campus. Evergreen’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter (formerly Mid-East Solidarity Project) has long been instrumental in educating students for years, hosting speakers, workshops, and displays commemorating Nakba day, for example.

The recent student resolutions were crafted in response to the 2005 global call to action by Palestinian civil society for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) against companies and institutions complicit in Israeli apartheid and occupation. BDS campaigns have proliferated across campuses in the last few years. Sabra, in particular, was targeted at colleges such as Earlham, Wesleyan and DePaul. A similar call to action came from the Sakuma-based farmworker union, Familias Unidas por la Justicia, to boycott Sakuma/Driscoll's Berries. Support for workers at Sakuma has also spread rapidly, with solidarity committees burgeoning throughout the U.S. and beyond, advocating the Driscoll’s berry boycott.

The Evergreen administration has persisted in remaining neutral in matters of injustice. It is time for Evergreen to stand up and demand justice. We, the students, staff, faculty and community members call on The Evergreen State College administration and Aramark to respect student democracy and comply with recent votes.

For more information about the resolutions and boycott organizing at the Evergreen campus, please email: tescsjp [at] gmail.com

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In Solidarity,
TESC SJP (Students for Justice in Palestine)

Students for Justice in Palestine at The Evergreen State College support a fair and just resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and an end to the Israeli government's policies of discrimination and occupation against Palestinians in the occupied territories, inside Israel and those driven to become refugees by Israeli government action. We also oppose the involvement of the United States government with various dictatorial regimes across the Middle East in general. We aim to do our part to meet these goals by informing our community about and opposing Evergreen's financial involvement with these policies and regimes through their investments in companies involved in human rights abuses.