The UC Santa Barbara chapter of the UC Divest Coalition, Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace hosted “The People’s Market for Gaza” and a “March for Divestment” on May 29. The efforts preluded a vote within the Associated Student Senate on a divestment resolution, rallying campus support for the University to cut ties to military contractors.

The “March for Divestment” stopped at the San Rafael Residence Hall. Daily Nexus / Josh Rhodes

“The People’s Market for Gaza” took place from 4-5 p.m. at People’s Park in Isla Vista with roughly 50 attendees. Vendors sold an array of goods including Palestinian prints, clothes, jewelry and ceramics. According to a post shared by the three coordinating organizations, proceeds will be used to “send mutual aid directly to families in Gaza.” 

The names of individuals in attendance have been kept anonymous by request, for safety reasons. 

A member of the UC Divest Coalition said the market aimed to rally support for the divestment resolution and to “center Palestinian resistance.” 

“Divestment has been a long time in the making — [it has] tried to pass so many times in the past 10 years. But today, we know with the resolution and bill on the table, it’s a moment where we need to both push for divestment, but also remember that our labor needs to be on the people in Gaza right now. Which is why we wanted to really center our day with sending funds,” she said. 

Various goods were for sale at the market, including Palestinian prints, jewelry, and journals. Daily Nexus / Michelle

Upon the conclusion of the market, a group of approximately 100 people gathered to march from People’s Park to the Loma Pelona Center, where the weekly Associated Students (A.S.) Senate meeting took place. 

From People’s Park, organizers lead a procession of roughly 100 people toward the front of Embarcadero Hall.

A UC Divest Coalition student organizer gave a speech on the history of People’s Park, touching on its founding as a memorial for the seven lives lost during the Isla Vista killings on May 23, 2014. 

“People’s park serves as a remembrance garden ‘capturing the collective spirit of cooperation that is currently taking shape in Isla Vista’ dedicating a poetic space for contemplation and celebration in memory of the student lives lost,” the speaker said.

The speaker compared the 2021 eviction of houseless encampments in the park by the University to the removal of Palestinians from Gaza by Israel.

“This reminds us of the constant displacement under ‘evacuation tactics’ from the [Israeli Defense Forces] and Israeli government to Palestinians from Northern Gaza, middle Gaza, Hanunas and now Rafah,” they said. “They’re constantly dispersing and isolating communities into a perpetual state of displacement.”

The procession then continued toward campus, going down Embarcadero del Mar to the Pardall Road intersection before stopping at Starbucks, where an organizer gave a speech on the company’s ties with Israel before continuing toward the University.

Several march coordinators acted as traffic blockers en route to the University to halt cars and allow protestors safe passage.

Two individuals in separate cars yelled at a traffic blocker in the middle of the street. Both individuals yelled about a medical emergency and needing to get to the hospital as soon as possible.

Protestors allowed the car to pass after two minutes during which screaming intensified.

The Nexus was unable to verify further information about the incident.

Around 50 more people joined the procession prior to stepping onto university grounds.

The march then paused at the Student Resource Building where another UC Divest Coalition organizer spoke about the building’s founding as a result of student activism and the UC system’s alleged suppression of pro-Palestinian protestors.

“For seven months, the UC has silenced, repressed and condemned our resistance against genocides, occupation, imperialism, antisemitism and Islamophobia,” the organizer said. “Years from now, what will the UC’s narrative about the moment we are living in look like? Will they mention the 64 students and workers arrested at UC San Diego, the over 200 arrests at UCLA?”.

The procession marched toward the San Rafael Residence Hall, stopping along the road overlooking the backyard of the UCSB Club & Guest House where a UC Office of the President retreat dinner was being held.

Protestors chanted at the guests, “Students, students we won’t rest, until UCSB Divests,” before continuing to Loma Pelona Center for the Senate meeting. Six Student Safety Partners were present.

Event organizers gave instructions to event participants to sign up for public comment for the Senate meeting that night where senators would vote on a divestment resolution.

The A.S. Senate has failed to pass divestment resolutions seven times in the last 11 years, including in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021.

“You’re here to encourage senators to vote ‘yes’ to pass the resolution and the bill,” a speaker said. “We are not here to shut down the Senate meeting, we want this bill to pass.”

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