Benedictine’s Students for Justice in Palestine took it upon themselves to unite the SJP’s in the Chicagoland area to host a night celebrating Palestinian culture. The event took place in Goodwin auditorium and was held from 6 to 10 p.m. on October 26th. A total of 405 people attended the event.
The event was dedicated to celebrating Palestinian culture in hopes of spreading awareness about Israel’s occupation on Palestine. A percent of the profits also went towards a PCRF mental health initiative. The night included food, entertainment, and speakers.
“ From the minute I walked in, I knew it would be a great night; I loved the setup of the event and thought the team did a phenomenal job organizing and hosting it,” stated Rifka Ghouleh attendee.
The event began with a performance by singer Mary Hazboun and Hani Dahshan, a musician who professionally plays the oud (a form of lute or mandolin played principally in Arab countries). The duo was followed by Benjamin Ladraa, an activist who spoke of his experience as he walked 3,000 miles from Sweden to Palestine, hoping to raise awareness of the Israeli occupation.
Al-Salam Debka took the stage with her talented footwork. Shortly after, Remi Kanazi, a nationally acclaimed poet and author of the book, Before the Next Bomb Drops, captivated the audience with a spoken word. Amer Zahr, a nationally appraised and sought-after comedian did not disappoint with his relatable humor that had the audience laughing and reminiscing about his performance, even after the night had come to an end.
“In hosting this event we hoped to spread awareness for the Palestinian cause in a way where people would want to come and see, we didn’t want to bore people with the issue, but wanted to captivate them with the culture,” stated SJP’s President Mallak Ahmad.
Overall, Benedictine’s SJP organized a successful night full of culture, food, and great company that united a community of Palestinians and non-Palestinians alike to spread awareness for a humanitarian cause. The struggle of Palestine is not for the Palestinians alone, but it is an opportunity for all to stand up for justice and human rights.