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AMANDLA!! Reflections of a Student Activist

by Felicia Eaves, US Campaign Co-Chair
December 21st, 2013

From South Africa to Israel, Student Activism Against Apartheid is at the Forefront

As South Africans and the world completes its official days of mourning and celebration of the incredible life and legacy of Nelson Mandela, I am reminded of the courageous and incredible contribution students made in the South African Anti-Apartheid movement by demanding the divestiture of stock holdings and other investments that universities throughout the U.S. had in South Africa.

The University of California, being one of the largest university systems in the country, played a major role in leading the charge of divestiture. In the spring of 1985, students throughout the University of California system held "Days of Action" to protest the racist Apartheid system in South Africa and to demand that the UC Regents divest its financial holdings from South Africa.

Help support the US Campaign's Days of Action against Israel's apartheid policies.

I was a sophomore at UC San Diego at the time and had just become active in the Black Student Union. It was a very exciting time as I remember Rev. Jesse Jackson, Angela Davis, and other luminaries coming to campus to encourage and stand in solidarity with us as hundreds of off-campus police were called in to quell the protests resulting in students being arrested.  

My friends and I participated in protests and demonstrations that included the construction of shantytowns that were erected on the Revelle College Plaza and a sleep-in that took place outside Humanities Library, re-named “Winnie Mandela” Library. On Nelson Mandela’s birthday, July 18, 1986, the University of California Regents voted 13-9 for full divestment of the system’s $3.1 billion linked to South Africa through U.S. corporations and banks. This was a huge victory for the student anti-apartheid movement and was by far the largest campus divestment action.

Fast-forward some nearly 30 years later, Students for Justice in Palestine at UCSD are demonstrating amazing leadership in their work to end Israel's apartheid policies. UCSD was one of the first UC-campuses to issue a resolution for the University of California system to divest from Israel and end its apartheid practices towards Palestinians, which speaks to the power and importance of student organizing in the Anti-Israeli Apartheid movement just as it was in the South African Anti-Apartheid movement.  

I am so very proud to have been part of the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa as I am now very proud to be part of the struggle to end Israeli apartheid. The US Campaign supports hundreds of member groups around the country, including many student groups, but we need your help to strengthen this work.

Can you help us redouble our support for these groups in 2014 by making a generous contribution today?

Thank you for joining the US Campaign and hundreds of member groups in working toward freedom, justice, and equality for all Palestinians, just as we did so many years ago for South Africans.


Felicia Eaves
US Campaign Co-Chair                                  

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