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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt students organize protest for Palestine and Yemen at Centennial Park

Vanderbilt Students for Justice in Palestine, along with local advocacy groups the Palestine Hurra Collective and Clarksville for Palestine, hosted a protest and march on West End Ave.
Alison Winters
A child holds a sign with protesters as they march on West End Ave., as photographed on Feb. 4, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Alison Winters)

Vanderbilt students joined local advocacy groups and Nashville community members on Feb. 4 at Centennial Park to protest in support of Palestine and Yemen. Around 150 protesters rallied on the sidewalk at the park’s entrance before marching down West End Ave. 

This protest is one in a series of backlash against Israel’s occupation of Palestine as well as the recent bombing of Yemen by the United States. Chants at the rally included “Free, free Palestine” and “Every time the media lies, a neighborhood in Gaza dies.” Another chant targeted Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn — who has publicly supported Israel — as protesters repeated, “Marsha Blackburn you can’t hide.”

A representative from SJP, granted anonymity for safety and privacy concerns, said the protest was a “needed reminder” for Vanderbilt students and the local community of the “ongoing genocide in Gaza.”

“Helping to lead this protest has been extremely fulfilling for SJP, as we were able to connect with the Nashville community and stand together, in stark contrast to the lack of support and apathy we experience daily from both Vanderbilt students and administrators,” the representative said in a message to The Hustler. “SJP will continue to advocate for the Palestinian people and for an end to the genocide, apartheid and occupation inflicted by the Israeli government.”

A Vanderbilt student who attended the protest, also granted anonymity for safety and privacy concerns, expressed anger at the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and urged people to continue protesting Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

“After at least four months, this is beyond criminal. It’s cartoonishly evil. I’ve never seen a worse geo-political and humanitarian crisis,” the student said. “I think it’s critical that everyone do what they can.”

Protesters held signs referencing the violence in Gaza, many of them depicting graphic images of war. Several signs labeled President Joe Biden as a “war criminal,” while others called for a ceasefire. One child held a sign reading, “The average age of death in Gaza is younger than me.”

First-year Vanderbilt M.D. student Namrah Ajmal expressed gratitude for the organization of pro-Palestine protests in the months since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attacks, but she said she has noticed the number of attendees at these events shrinking.

“Since the temporary ceasefire before Thanksgiving, the protests have had far fewer people in attendance, and, with the attack on Gaza still on full blast, I’m a little disappointed to see that,” Ajmal said in a message to The Hustler.

After about an hour in front of Centennial Park, protesters marched further down West End Ave. and then looped back towards the park. The march was joined by children, adults and pets as police officers kept people out of the street.

Ajmal also expressed frustration with the university’s response to the violence in Gaza, saying she was “incredibly disappointed” at actions she believes do not uphold the ideal of principled neutrality.

“It makes it painfully clear that we, as an institution, only care about the oppressed and dying when they come from a very specific background,” Ajmal said. “And the senseless deaths of thousands who look and live like me are simply collateral damage.”

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About the Contributors
Alison Winters
Alison Winters, Deputy News Editor
Alison Winters (‘25) is from Franklin, Tenn., and is majoring in political science and law, history and society with a minor in psychology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her at the movie theater, reading a good book or attending a concert in Nashville. You can reach her at [email protected].
Tasfia Alam
Tasfia Alam, Multimedia Copy Editor
Tasfia Alam (‘25) is from Los Angeles and is majoring in neuroscience and political science in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, she can be found obsessing over a new book, trying to expand her music taste or taking pictures of pretty sunsets. You can reach her at [email protected]
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Comments (3)

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Thelma López
5 months ago

I think there is widespread disgust at what is happening in Gaza and would participate in protests but (1) people fear repercussions from evangelicals and the jewish community and (2) there is no knowledge of it occuring. In addition, alliances for support need to be formed with other groups. I, for one, would support the protests but I never find out until after that fact.

Seeking justice in all things
4 months ago
Reply to  Thelma López

There’s one at Centennial Park tonight at 4pm! Technically a vigil for all the children who’ve been martyred

2 months ago

Yeah, go there to protest the MURDERS of innocent Israeli babies women and men!!!