These Who Stood Up | Accra Shepp


I photographed Occupy Wall Avenue for a yr, from 2011 to 2012. Practically ten years later, as a part of my work documenting the Covid-19 pandemic, I adopted the Black Lives Matter demonstrations of 2020. It was by no means my intent to concentrate on social justice, and I proceed to make extra experimental pictures. However taking note of tradition­­­—which is to say individuals—is the work of everybody within the arts, and my intentions needed to bend to the fact round me, round all of us. Final month, when college students at universities across the nation started establishing encampments to protest the conflict in Gaza, I got here to comprehend that I would wish to make this new second seen. I spent 5 days photographing the protests at Columbia College, within the eight days between the primary wave of arrests there and the subsequent.

I’m pleased with the scholars for main us in confronting our participation on this conflict. On the identical time, it saddens me that the tradition of surveillance has frightened us, frightened those that stand as much as be heard but are afraid to be seen. As somebody who sees for a residing, I’d make seen all who stood up, significantly those that stood up for peace and towards violence. It’s a horrible paradox. Those that couldn’t take part within the publication of their pictures right now have acknowledged to me how a lot they need to lose: there have been firings, suspensions, expulsions, even demise threats. But they allowed me to {photograph} them and trusted me. For now their pictures have to stay personal, however they are going to be seen one other day.

It additionally troubles me that the protest I photographed will not be the protest I see reported by a lot of the mainstream media. I noticed no embrace of antisemitism. Quite the opposite, the variety of Jewish protesters was not possible to disregard, as was the extent of cooperation between Jews and Muslims. The picture of the factor, even on this second of media saturation, retains its energy. The {photograph}—the report of this protest towards the killings—is troublesome to erase from the thoughts. It speaks to our starvation to know the world.

Accra Shepp

Abbi, 2024

Abbi: I got here to the encampment in solidarity with Columbia college students, school, and employees who’re calling on their establishments to divest from Israeli apartheid and the genocide in Gaza. Displaying up at an organized protest is essentially the most rational response to the unfathomable violence towards Palestinians and essentially the most direct strategy to specific grief, anger, and radical optimism.

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Accra Shepp

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, 2024

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, College Professor: I communicate as finest I can for all involved school educating qualitative materials. There should still be time to undo the hurt being accomplished to our college students by directors, donors, and trustees with little expertise of educating, who consider the college as actual property and of the good United States custom of civil disobedience as civic disruption to be punished by police and expulsion. As one in every of our colleagues remarked: “expelling principled and engaged students will come at a cost to the university that we cannot calculate.” After 1968 some college students had been suspended, not expelled. Many returned to finish their levels and went on to be a credit score to the college: Ben Jealous got here again to be a Rhodes Scholar, then to direct first the NAACP and now the Sierra Membership. Talking as an outdated trainer with many a long time of expertise, let me say: Please, Columbia, don’t deal an enormous blow to the still-admirable US college system, and thus to the nation at giant, by thoughtlessly expelling college students.

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Vijetha Ramajayam, 2024

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Nameless, 2024

Nameless: Scholar protest has been basic to the upkeep of human and civil rights on this nation and past. Our schools and universities have proven themselves to place revenue first, humanity final.

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Nameless, 2024

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Lily and Ray, 2024

Ray, Barnard Scholar: As we have fun the season of liberation, it is very important keep in mind that freedom for some will not be sufficient.

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Accra Shepp

Mohamed Abdou, 2024

Mohamed Abdou, visiting professor: I used to be employed by Columbia in Might 2023 to show programs on 1492, Islam, anarchism, comparative settler-colonialism in Israel and North America, and abolition, queerness, and feminism within the International South. The latest Home hearings—throughout which I used to be reworked from an intellectual-organizer employed for my interdisciplinary experience right into a public enemy—made clear that these in energy, from congresspeople to the president of Columbia, Baroness Minouche Shafik, are architects of animosity. They profit from strife and the weaponization of our present second to amplify our disagreements on the expense of what brings us collectively. The final eight years, in the meantime, display how white supremacist media platforms and personalities will be concurrently anti-Jewish and supportive of Zionism. We must always have the ability to dwell in a world along with religion or lack of religion, the place we are able to have dialogues to mitigate our disagreements, and for the sake of our youngsters we should have the ability to construct that higher world.

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M. H., 2024

M. H., chemical engineering pupil: If you happen to look intently, you’ll be able to see my grandmother’s marriage ceremony ring on my neck. She was one of many loudest voices for Irish liberation through the Troubles; it felt vital for me to talk for Palestinian liberation in the identical method.

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Nameless, 2024

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Accra Shepp

Naib and Bina, 2024

Naib and Bina, writers: The New York Battle Crimes is a motion paper designed each to critique our media—exemplified by The New York Occasions, which manufactures consent for genocide—and to publish the truths they received’t: the names of the Palestinian victims, the voices of Palestinian prisoners, of the scholar motion, of employees organizing for Palestine.

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Nameless, 2024

Nameless: As a Columbia College workers member, I imagine it’s my function not solely to protest the administration’s militarization and police occupation of our campus but additionally to face alongside the courageous college students and demand what’s simply: the college’s divestment from the settler-colonial Zionist state committing apartheid, occupation, and genocide towards the Palestinian individuals.

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Accra Shepp

D. J., 2024

D. J.: We can not look away from youngsters being killed, a nation of individuals being exterminated, a world being burned to the bottom. They’re our youngsters, our individuals, our world, and we’re complicit. Nobody is coming to avoid wasting us however ourselves. Free Palestine ceaselessly.

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Accra Shepp

Unidentified police officer, 2024

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Nameless, 2024

Nameless: The coed protests at Columbia had been began due to the egregious violations of human rights occurring in Gaza proper now, which have been funded partly by our college. Regardless of the horrific trigger that introduced us collectively, Columbia college students have created a neighborhood full of hope, schooling, artwork, and care. Whereas we’re upset in our college, this sense of neighborhood amongst college students has solely grown, each on campus and globally, as college students proceed to arrange encampments in solidarity with the Palestinian individuals. It’s an honor to be their friends.

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