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University of Florida students support Rasmea Odeh

By Michela Martinazzi |
November 6, 2014
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Sky Button from SDS speaks about Rasmea's case
Sky Button from SDS speaks about Rasmea's case (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Activists have tape over their mouths to symbolize silencing and repression
Activists have tape over their mouths to symbolize the silencing and repression of activists

Gainesville, FL—Twenty-five University of Florida (UF) students and allies rallied on campus in solidarity with Arab American women’s leader Rasmea Odeh. Odeh’s trial began in Detroit on Nov. 4 and is continuing thru the week.

Sky Button, a lead organizer with UF Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), opened the demonstration by explaining Rasmea Odeh is a 67-year old Palestinian American woman being targeted for organizing Arab American and Muslim women in Chicago. Button finished his speech saying, “We’re here to stand against the FBI and government agencies for their repression of Rasmea and other activists.”

Rasmea Odeh’s case does not only represent political repression that activist’s experience, but also the ongoing struggle for women’s liberation. Farah Khan, Vice President of SJP and lead organizer of SDS stated, “As Palestinian solidarity activists we have an obligation to support Rasmea. The way she is being targeted by the US shows how any one of us could be criminalized for our political work, and we need to stand in solidarity with her and oppose political repression in all forms. And as women, there is an even larger need to oppose patriarchy and the many ways that it enables the silencing of women through sexual violence.”

For part of the protest, students held signs and had tape over their mouths to signify the silencing of activism.

Eric Brown, member of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and lead organizer of SDS, summed up the solidarity event by saying, "In the same way that activists all over the world stood up for Angela Davis when she was targeted by the state in the 70’s for her political work we must take a stand for Rasmea and all other activists facing political repression for their solidarity work with Palestine."

SDS and SJP passed out more than 200 flyers on campus. To answer the national call to action, students were asked to follow the trial at and sign the petition demanding the charges against Odeh be dropped.