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The Orion

Over $1000 raised for victims in Gaza at Palestine vigil 

Deyaadeen+Ammar%2C+speaking+at+the+In+Solidarity+with+Palestine+vigil.+Photo+taken+Nov.+3+by+Molly+Myers.+
Deyaadeen Ammar, speaking at the “In Solidarity with Palestine” vigil. Photo taken Nov. 3 by Molly Myers.

Community members showed up in droves to the “In Solidarity With Palestine” vigil on Friday. 

 

The event organizers were surprised to see many people show up, an estimated 150 attendees. The event raised $1,353 that will go toward mutual aid organizations in Gaza, organizers said.

 

Some of the funds raised came from cash and Venmo donations. Palestinian sweets were sold to raise money as well.

 

The event took place at the stage of the Downtown Chico City Plaza. Delicately flickering tea lights scattered the floor, framed by a crescent of flowers and stuffed animals near the edge of the stage. 

At the back of the stage, volunteers and organizers hung photos with short obituaries of victims in Gaza. They also placed boards with the names of the currently 8,000 victims, a number constantly rising, at the back of the stage.

 

One of the volunteers who helped arrange the boards of the victims’ names, was AS President Autumn Alaniz-Wiggins. Alaniz-Wiggins said it was important for her to come and show support. 

 

“I think historically, student body presidents in general have to take a neutrality stance,” Alaniz-Wiggins said. 

 

Despite this, Alaniz-Wiggins said she has to be invested in issues and used the term “bi-invested.” She said she is invested in the Israeli hostages in Gaza, and she is also invested in the thousands of Palestinian victims. 

 

“A literal genocide is going on, and one of our top UN officials just resigned and we’re still supporting,” Alaniz-Wiggins said.

Deyaadeen Ammar, a Palestinian community member in the process of founding the Chico Palestinian Advocacy Network, began organizing the event through a Reddit post seeking community activism. 

 

“If I can change even one mind, if I can enlighten even one person, I will claim that as a victory,” Ammar said.

 

Ammar organized the event with Shaheera Abbasi, a college student who founded SWANASA Advocates

 

Abbasi spoke about the tragedy in Gaza, and focused her speech on the dehumanization of Palestinians, Muslims and Arabs in general. However, she wanted to focus on Palestinian men. She said Palestinian men are dehumanized to the point they are seen only as violent, or only as terrorists.  Because of these stereotypes, their deaths are not taken as seriously as women and children, she said.

Palestinian deserts sold to raise funds for the victims in Gaza. Photo taken Nov. 3 by Molly Myers.

May Soon, a Palestinian community member from Ramallah, Palestine, said the Chico community can support Palestinians by providing emotional support.

 

“Give us some hope,” Soon said. 

 

One of the last speakers, Rain Scher, spoke about being an anti-Zionist Israeli Jew in support of the Palestinian people. Scher invited the Jews in the crowd to come on stage in solidarity. Seven people came on stage, some sitting, some standing, while Scher sang the mourner’s kaddish in Hebrew.

 

The mourner’s kaddish is a Jewish prayer to honor the dead. In the prayer Israel is mentioned. Scher informed the crowd that the word Israel would be changed to Palestine for the recitation. 

 

Palestinian community member Khitam Saeidah recited a prayer for the victims in Arabic. Immediately after, her son Mohammad Saeidah recited a translation of the prayer.

 

The vigil is to be followed with a protest, Saturday, at 2 p.m. 

Molly Myers can be reached [email protected] or [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Molly Myers
Molly Myers, Managing Editor/Features Editor
Molly Myers is a transfer student from Palmdale, California. She is a journalism major also minoring in religious studies. Molly is Managing Editor at The Orion and previously worked as Editor-in-Chief. Her work is also published in Watershed Review. Getting to meet new people and hear their stories is her favorite part of being a journalist. Outside of The Orion she instructs yoga at the WREC and volunteers with the Torres Community Shelter.

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