On October 20th, 3 CAPA students led a rally protesting against the occupation of Palestine. Students walked out of their classrooms at 11:30 am and marched to city hall, demanding the government to call for a ceasefire. The protest was by all means a success, reaching not just fellow CAPA students but also high schoolers from all across the city who also walked out. As they marched in circles around city hall, 200 pupils marched along with them. After the protest, I had a chance to sit down with Laila and Nora, two of the three girls who led the walkout.
Right after the protest how are we feeling?
Laila: I'm really proud of us.
Nora: Yeah I feel really tired, but relieved and happy.I just feel unified
What inspired you to plan this protest?
Laila: Well we had a group chat already, just talking about the things that were going on.
Nora: We had gone to a walkout previously but it wasn't a school walkout, so I was like we should plan a walkout for high schoolers. It wasn't organized for high school.
Do you think it is important to have protests that are specifically planned for high schoolers?
Laila: Yes because if young people see other young people standing up for young people, they know that it is important to care about the world around them.
How do you other high schoolers should go about starting a protest if they wish to?
Nora: They should talk to the people around them, they should talk to coalitions. Also, social media is really your friend.
Laila: You should also talk to the administration at your school. But even if they are against it you still have the right to protest. The most important thing is being passionate about a cause.
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What are the rights of students who protest?
Laila: It is your right as a student to participate in a walkout you cannot be penalized for it. Meaning you can't be given detention and whatnot.
You organized this protest alongside the Philadelphia Palestine Coalition. Tell me about that.
Nora: I directly messaged them on Instagram. They were super sweet people. They helped us out so much I don't think we would have been successful without them.
Would you say it is important to get in contact with organizations?
Nora: Yes, they have so many resources that students would need in order to do a successful protest. They provided us with protection, blocking off the street for us. They gave us microphones. All in all, they were very sweet.
For the students who went to the protest, what do you think their next steps should be?
Laila: They should continue to email and call their city council representatives. They should continue to attend more protests as the fight is not over.
Laila and Nora ushered again and again the importance of continuing to show up to demonstrations. The world will not changed with one protest. But it will with the repeating voice of the people.