Palestine Labor Abolition Affinity groups Commentary

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May 6, 2024

LIVE UPDATES: PDfA sets up Gaza solidarity encampment on Marston Quad at Pomona

After arrests one month ago, student group Pomona Divest from Apartheid have set up a Gaza solidarity encampment on the main quad at Pomona College.

Samson Zhang
Early Monday morning, students pitched tents and fences around the commencement stage at Marston Quad.

Joining Columbia University, UCLA, Emory College and dozens of other colleges around the country, students with Pomona Divest from Apartheid re-launched a Gaza solidarity encampment on May 6, 2024 to demand that Pomona divest from Israeli genocide.

Israel has killed over 34,000 Gazans since Oct. 7, and is currently targeting Rafah, where 1.5 million Gazans have taken shelter after Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of northern Gaza.

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE AND THE FOLLOWING FOR LIVE UPDATES:

Pomona Divest from Apartheid previously held an encampment and mock apartheid wall from March 28 to April 5. Pomona administration arrested 20 students on April 5, 19 of whom were conducting a sit-in at Alexander Hall after administration’s forceful destruction of the apartheid wall.

Day 4 (May 9, 2024)

9:30 p.m.: Claremont JVP releases a statement rejecting Dean Hinkson’s tying of Jewish students to Israel. 

4:55 p.m.: Dean Avis Hinkson sends out another email to all students and faculty titled “Community Update.” In the email, Dean Hinkson condemned the use of the phrase “From the River to the Sea” and “Intifada”, which have been displayed in art surrounding the encampment. 

3 p.m.: students expand the encampment to the step of Big Bridges. 

12:11 p.m.: Incoming ASPC Senator sends an email to the all-student Listserv. The email, titled “Update on Recent Board of Trustees Meeting”, says that Pomona Board of Trustees want to “buy our silence and complicity in genocide through donations.”

8:55 a.m.: Dean Avis Hinkson responds to the ASPC Senator’s email and hour later promising a response soon. The email is sent to the senior class Listserv. 

7:17 a.m.: ASPC Vice President of Finance sent an email to Pomona administration and the Class of 2024 Listserv regarding commencement. “I am writing to urgently request an update regarding the commencement ceremony scheduled for this Sunday.” The ASPC senator calls out a “concerning lack of communication regarding the ceremony, which I find deeply disrespectful to out students and their families.”

Day 3 (May 8, 2024)

~10 p.m.: four Claremont Police Department officers arrive. They come near the encampment, and students react with chants, but appear to just examine the nearby Big Bridges building — which recently bore painted black text reading “DIVEST” — and leave.

~8 p.m.: darkness sets in over the encampment for the first time, as Pomona cut all lights in the area, including streetlights by adjacent walkways. Students inside the encampment appeared to continue distributing food and settling in for the night using portable lamps.

2 p.m.: the lights hanging on the scaffolding above the encampment, originally intended for commencement ceremonies, appear to have been turned off. They had been on continuously, through the day and night, since the encampment started.

Meanwhile, students have began an “Anti-Zionism vs. Antisemitism” teach-in on the grass outside the encampment entrance.

Here’s the schedule for the day from PDfA’s Instagram.

Day 2 (May 7, 2024)

It was a quiet second day at the encampment. PDfA posted a schedule including a 3 p.m. art build and study and prayer times on its Instagram page.

Day 1 (May 6, 2024)

6:10 p.m.: approximately 120 students, faculty and community members gathered on Pomona College’s Marston Quad to rally for the newly-erected encampment. Student speakers gave speeches on the importance of escalation, read poetry, and listened to liberation music. 

Inside the encampment, students continued setting up additional barricades and fences. The rally concluded with a series of religious prayers and additional chants in Arabic. 

9:07 a.m.: admin has locked down campus buildings. Academic buildings are usually open 9am-5pm. Dean of Students Avis Hinkson sends all students an email titled “Community Update,” says that “an encampment of protesters has returned to campus,” and tells people to avoid it. Suggests that “safety” is an issue and priority.

8:00 a.m.: the sun is up. The fence perimeter is complete. Here’s what the encampment looks like now.

5:25 a.m.: dozens of students pushed through fences surrounding Pomona College’s main quad and lay down tarps, tents and supplies. Students also appeared to move fences from outside perimeter to closer to the encampment area.

Read more

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Incoming ASPC President: Pomona Board of Trustees want to “buy our silence and complicity in genocide through donations”

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Pomona admin met with Claremont Police Chief days before Alexander Hall sit-in to plan intervention, emails show

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ARRESTED, JAILED, SUSPENDED, UNHOUSED: What happened to the Pomona Seven after April 5

Thanks for reading Undercurrents

Undercurrents reports on labor, Palestine liberation, prison abolition and other community organizing at and around the Claremont Colleges.

Issue 1 / Spring 2023

Setting the Standard

How Pomona workers won a historic $25 minimum wage; a new union in Claremont; Tony Hoang on organizing

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