Statement on the UCLA Palestine Solidarity Encampment

On Wednesday, May 1st one of our young Great Wall artists was struck with a rubber bullet during LAPD’s raid of the pro-Palestinian encampment at UCLA. This violence shattered her painting hand which required her to undergo reconstructive surgery. She is expected to make a full recovery. Tragically, our team member is just one of hundreds of students whom police injured that night under the direction of the UCLA administration. Police beat students with batons, shot at with rubber bullets, tear gassed, and subjected to flashbangs as a way to break up the encampment. 

As our team of artists paint on the Great Wall, we are uncovering the histories of generations of activists before us who took to the streets, took over administrative buildings, held vigils, and engaged in encampments to protest various forms of violence and to fight for a more just future.  The echoes between past and present are resounding to us as we are developing imagery that will depict the Vietnam War protests of the 60s and 70s, and anti-apartheid South Africa protests in the 1980s. 

UCLA and corporate media have failed to recognize the violence by self-identified Zionist and white nationalist counter protesters, the number and severity of injuries, and the commitment of pro-Palestinian organizers to de-escalation and community care. The encampment has been a space of community learning–a beautiful testament to the organizing skills, political insight, bravery, creativity, and discipline of today’s students. Students both revived and developed ways of living together, sharing resources, taking care of each other, making political art, and building their collective knowledge and power. We applaud student organizers across the country who are standing up against the mass genocide of Palestinians. 

The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) stands in solidarity with Palestinians resisting genocide in Gaza, the latest and most severe catastrophe in Israel’s 76-year-long occupation. We call for an immediate permanent ceasefire and an end to the United States’ funding of the Israeli military, which has enabled it to massacre, displace, and starve Palestinians with impunity. SPARC also echoes U.S. students’ demands for the disclosure of university investments and funding, and divestment from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation genocide of the Palestinian people.

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