The UU College of Social Justice, in collaboration with Side with Love and the Youth and Emerging Adult team of the Lifespan Faith Engagement office joins in solidarity with Unitarian Universalist young adults and students across the globe who are protesting the ongoing assault in Gaza. These protests are a response to the moral urgency of this moment. The assault on Gaza, sponsored by the United States, has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians. We cannot turn away.We join the chorus of faith and progressive organizations calling for an immediate and lasting ceasefire and the protection of student activists.

In the face of dehumanization, devastation, and death, human beings have always gathered to create life-affirming communities of resistance. Rooted in a strong lineage of student movements, this generation – like those protesting the Vietnam War, calling for the racial integration of their campuses, and for the end of apartheid in South Africa – are, again, asking this nation to embody its highest ideals of liberty and justice for all.

Our values call on every generation to listen with care and compassion to the prophetic witness of these courageous students and offer faithful solidarity. We, too, must rise to meet the highest aspirations of our faith, which rejects the disposability of any human being and proclaims all are worthy of love and belonging.

This generation of students has endured the trauma of COVID-19, school shootings, a climate crisis, and the brutality of U.S. police forces on their campuses and in their communities. It is time to turn around the question, “Where are the young people in our faith movement?” and instead ask, “Where are all of us, as people of faith, when our young people are showing up?” We must not turn away.

Side With Love proclaims the transformative power of love to build vibrant and liberated communities. This dangerous assault on civil liberties on college campuses and human rights – at home and globally –are connected. Too many of our justice movements (labor movement, Civil Rights, Gay liberation), have been met with sanctioned police brutality, imprisonment, and worse. We must not fail our students with our silence. We will not betray our faith with our complicity.

We call on university administrations and public officials to remove police from campuses, end the militarized response to student activism, and come to the table in good-faith negotiations with student demands. We call on our community to show up in solidarity. We welcome all, in this pivotal movement, to Side With Love.

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