Monday, March 24, 2008

Press Release is out

Check out the online newroom at Immediate Release-->
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J./EWORLDWIRE/March 24, 2008 --- Last year on March 20, 500 Rutgers students walked out on their daily routine in protest to the occupation of Iraq, marched through downtown New Brunswick and onto Route 18, temporarily shutting down the major highway. Named the biggest action on the East Coast on the anniversary of the war last year, organizers for this year's Walkout Against the War expect an even larger, more spirited demonstration.

Timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the Rutgers Walkout will begin at 1:23 p.m. on March 27 with a rally at the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial on Voorhees Mall, on the College Avenue Campus.

There will be a number of speakers including veterans, students, professors, community activists and family members of military servicewomen and men. Attendees can expect musical performances and spoken word as well. Organizers are expecting a march following the rally. "Last year hundreds of students marched into the heart of New Brunswick and received enthusiastic support from members of the community," says Sumia Ibrahim, a Walkout organizer. "As we walked along George Street, people were cheering, waving, throwing up peace signs, and joining in."

"One woman broke down crying when she saw us," recounts Jean-Pierre Mestanza, a participant in last year's action. "'God bless you,' she was saying. It turns out she had a brother in Iraq. It was intense."

The Walkout is being coordinated by a diverse array of student organizations under the banner of the Rutgers Walkout Coalition and has received broad support across Rutgers. Participating groups include: .

The Arabic Cultural Club .
BAKA - Students United for Middle Eastern Justice .
The Central and South American Alliance .
Fusion .
Human Rights House .
Lambda Theta Alpha .
The Latino Student Council .
Radigals .
RU Choice .
Rutgers Against the War .
Tent State University-Students for a Democratic Society.

The Walkout has also been endorsed by several of the student governing association. Members of the faculty are signing petitions supporting students' right to walk out without fear of repercussion, and some will even be walking out with their students.

When asked why they are walking out, students offer a variety of explanations. "Education is only meaningful if it translates into action," remarked Hoda Mitwally who plans to attend the rally. "Students feel that if we take what we're learning seriously, we have an obligation to speak out. These are our peers that are dying in this war. Just recently, 91 Rutgers Newark students were recalled to active duty from reservist status in the National Guard. They will be in our thoughts on March 27."

Adriel Bernal, a Walkout Coalition organizer agrees: "The Walkout shows that for one day we're willing to disrupt our everyday lives to show that there will be no business as usual until all the troops come home."

"I think it's great that they're protesting," says Rutgers student Rafay Siddiqui, an Iraq War veteran and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War who recently testified in the Winter Soldier Hearings. "A lot of Marines I know have serious doubts about why they're in Iraq. Most of them just want to be home with their families."

Overall, expectations on campus are high for a massive student turnout on March 27.

"Even though the Bush Administration is once again downplaying the precarious security situation in Iraq, people aren't stupid," says Walkout Coalition organizer Erik Straub. "Students in particular are still very upset that after five years our troops are still in Iraq. They're fed up."

"Last year the students decided to take the highway," Straub continues. "Who knows what they'll do this year!"

WHAT: Campus-wide walkout and demonstration against the Iraq War & Occupation, marking the fifth anniversary of the start of the war.
WHO: Rutgers Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and Community Members.
WHERE: Rally and speakers on Voorhees Mall at the Vietnam Memorial behind Scott Hall-43 on College Avenue at Rutgers--New Brunswick, followed by a march in New Brunswick.
WHEN: March 27, 2008, beginning at 1:23 p.m. Contact: Sumia Ibrahim 609-375-7363 Timothy Horras 732-425-1885-->
CONTACT:-->Sumia IbrahimMarch 27 Walkout Coalition
PHONE. 6093757363
KEYWORDS: anti-war, Iraq, Iraq War, protest, walk out, walkout, demonstration, veterans, peace, occupation, students, student movement, Rutgers, university, direct action, civil disobedience, Gold Star Mothers, campus anti-war network, CAN, students for a democratic society, SDS
SOURCE: March 27 Walkout Coalition

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Walkout Recieves Additional Endorsements

The College Avenue Council Endorsed the Walkout with a vote of 9-4. In addition, the History Department has passed a resolution supporting students right to leave class and assemble and promised not to penalize students for doing so. The momentum is growing.

The facebook support group for the walkout has surpassed 1,000 people!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Graduate Student Association Passes Resolution Supporting Walkout

Noting that the US military presence in Iraq continues to be unpopular in the US and in other countries, and that its humanitarian and economic consequences make it one of the central issues of the present day;

Also noting that a coalition of student organizations at Rutgers University have called for a student walkout on March 27th, 2008 to protest the occupation of Iraq, calling on students to leave their classes at 1:23 pm and gather at Vorhees Mall;

The Council of Graduate Student Association expresses its sentiment that a walkout is a valid form of protest, and its hope that the university administration, faculty, and other instructors will not prevent students from participating in the walkout or penalize them for participating.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Princeton High School Decides to have a walkout

Members of Students for Peace are having a walkout at Princeton High School on March 19 at 12:30. The walkout movement against the war is growing across campuses in NJ. Rutgers Walkout Coalition members will support these actions and stand in solidarity with all students taking action to fight back against the war machine.