SJP Stands with M.E.Ch.A. in Denouncing Columbus Day and Promoting Indigenous Peoples Day


Aman Aberra- SJP President

Shifa Alkhatib- SJP Media and Public Relations

Today, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán at ASU (M.E.Ch.A.) and the Students for Justice in Palestine at ASU (SJP) stood together outside of the Memorial Union at Arizona State University to bring awareness to our indigenous population and celebrate indigenous culture.  M.E.Ch.A. members laid outside in over 90 degree heat, with red shirts and skulls painted on their faces, to make the point that Columbus day is a celebration of invasion, occupation, and enslavement of native peoples.  SJP members supported this effort by collecting dozens of student signatures for a petition to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day on our academic calendars.

The purpose of transforming this day into Indigenous Peoples day is to educate people about the truth of the conquest of the “New World” by Christopher Columbus.  This day should be a day for people to learn the truth of colonialism and the genocide that resulted from Columbus’ invasion.

Columbus day is a federal holiday to commemorate Christopher Columbus arriving in the “New World” in 1492. Columbus day should not be celebrated as it led to European colonization, exploitation of the Native population, genocide, and the Atlantic Slave Trade.   Instead, let us celebrate a day of indigenous culture and change what the next generation of children are taught in schools.

Repudiating our nation’s history of colonialism will take more than just replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. The United States sends a massive amount of military aid to Israel—$8.2 million a day—supporting the continuation of Israel’s impunity and human rights abuses against Palestinians. Since it’s creation in 1948, Israel has slowly stolen more and more Palestinian land, in a pattern resembling the European settlers’ expansion across North America.

Shrinking Native American and Palestinian Land
Green represents the historic land

With it’s apartheid wall, Israel has divided the West Bank into a labyrinth of checkpoints, with settlers illegally building new settlements and stealing more Palestinian land every day. Gaza remains trapped—the largest open air prison in the world—blockaded and bombarded by the Israeli military. We are all witnesses to another case of occupation and colonization, but we will not stand to let history repeat itself.

We stand with M.E.Ch.A. and ask Arizona State University to remove Columbus Day from our academic calendars and mark October 8 as Indigenous Peoples Day.


SJP member (left) and M.E.Ch.A. member (right) stand side by side in solidarity

Dedicated M.E.CH.A. member all smiles before laying down in 90 degree heat.

SJP Supports the Russell Tribunal Held on Oct. 6 & 7

October 4, 2012- Students for Justice in Palestine at Arizona State University supports the Russell Tribunal on Palestine which will be held this weekend in the Great Hall of the Cooper Union located in New York.  The fact that the Russell Tribunal will be held in such a historic place gives us hope that one day justice will be served for the Palestinians.  This Hall has been the center of many campaigns such as worker’s rights and even the women’s suffrage movement as well as the birth of the NAACP. The Tribunal does not have any legal status but has a strong backing and sense of legitimacy that comes from the support of all those who advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation and Israel’s denial of Palestinian rights.  Israel’s impunity has not gone unnoticed to many across the world and the New York Tribunal will be framed around the root of the conflict as well as UN and US responsibility in the denial of the Palestinian right to self-determination.  Previous Russell Tribunals were held in Barcelona, London, and Cape Town each focusing on a different topic such as EU complicity, corporate complicity, and the crime of Apartheid, respectively.


The tribunal will be live streamed on Free Speech TV and at the Russell Tribunal on Palestine on October 6 and 7.  For more information visit


Shifa Alkhatib/ASU SJP Media & PR


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