Race Forward Denounces Violence Against Campus Protests; Calls for Permanent Cease-Fire in Gaza

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As violence against protestors on college campuses over the violence in Gaza has escalated,  Race Forward, a national racial justice nonprofit working to advance a just, multiracial democracy and liberation for all people, issued the following statement condemning the use of violence against peaceful protestors and calling for a cease-fire in Gaza.

“The right to protest (assemble) is a First Amendment right and students on college campuses have been exercising this right for decades,” states Glenn Harris, President of Race Forward. “During both the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War, students on college campuses have used this form of protest to both stand in solidarity with those oppressed and to demand change.

“Whether at Kent State University or UCLA Berkeley or Columbia University, or on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, those demanding justice have been met with violence as a means of silencing opposing views and solidarity. In a democracy, all people have the right to peaceably assemble and demand justice. To viciously assault, forcibly remove and criminalize students for demonstrating is unacceptable in a just, multiracial democracy.

“The increasing trend of using violence against and criminalizing peaceful protestors is extremely threatening to our democracy in a time when we are also seeing a slow walk toward authoritaranism with book bans, repeal of affirmative action and abortion rights, and attacks on racial equity.

“Therefore we are calling for the respect and upholding of people’s First Amendment rights to peacefully assemble free from fear of violence or arrest, and we stand in solidarity with those committed to democracy and justice in calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza to end further death and suffering.