Last night we had our first General Meeting adopting a constitution for Wellington Palestine and structuring ourselves as a democratic, membership organisation. Many thanks to everyone who came along, joined and engaged in the debate with such enthusiasm. The group will now meet in monthly open, membership meetings organised by a Coordinating Group elected by the General Meeting.
The following members of Wellington Palestine were elected to the Coordinating Group: Shahd El-Matary (Co-Convenor), Neil Ballantyne (Co-Convenor), Nadia Abu-Shanab (Secretary), Ben Peterson (Treasurer), Don Carson and Ella Young (VU Justice for Palestine).
Once the formal business was completed the meeting was addressed by Zac, Ella and Ben from the new Victoria University student group Justice for Palestine. What follows is a written report prepared by Ella describing the establishment of the group. Wellington Palestine look forward to working closely with VU Justice for Palestine.
Kia ora friends,
For those who don’t know us, we are three Vic uni students who are passionate about seeing justice and peace in Palestine. We spent 3 months last year living on a farm (Tent of Nations) in the West Bank and came back really disturbed and challenged by what we experienced of the occupation. We were determined to find a way to continue to engage with the issues and support the Palestinians after returning to New Zealand. We know that there is a disconnect between many New Zealanders and this issue. Lack of education and awareness is definitely a contributing factor to this so we wanted to exposure to the conflict and create an avenue of engagement for people.
Over the past few weeks, we have been working with Nadia to get a ‘Students for Justice in Palestine’ group at Vic off the ground. We had an epic week at the clubs expo where we had so many phenomenal conversations with students about the occupation. It was encouraging to see how many people were interested and engaged. We had 130 students put their names down to join which was crazy and so many more than we expected! We’re not expecting them all to show up to our meetings or be active with what we do but it’s an awesome start and we are really encouraged.
We had our first meeting on Thursday 21st March and brainstormed some ideas about what our plan for the year will look like. We are hoping to challenge the university on one of the scholarships offered by the Israeli Embassy (a persuasive essay on Israel as a democratic state) and potentially support a BDS movement. We are still new to this so it will be a bit trial and error with what we can and can’t achieve. Hopefully this project will gain momentum throughout the year! We are excited about the group we have going and look forward to getting it off the ground.
Ella, Zac and Ben