Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Pro-Palestine students host educational Speedway takeover

Roberto Ramirez
A volunteer from the Palestine Solidarity Committee hoists a Palestine flag over The University of Texas at Austin’s Speedway Mall on Nov. 15, 2023.

Sami Haque rolled down Speedway on his skateboard with a Palestinian flag billowing behind him, passing out flyers that said in bold print: “Stop Arming Israel.” 

As he weaved through the mass of students, he skated past several pairs of people holding up large Palestinian flags and tables covered in flyers about Palestine’s history. 

“I just want to leave an impact on people where it makes them go, ‘Oh, maybe I should research this a little bit more,’” civil engineering freshman Haque said. “If the image of me on a skateboard holding a Palestinian flag does that for someone, then I’d be glad to do it.”

Keffiyehs, Palestinian flags and flyers were scattered along Speedway as part of the Palestine Speedway Takeover, hosted by the Muslim Student Association and the Palestine Solidarity Committee. An anonymous MSA officer said they hosted this event to educate the student body about Palestine’s history to supplement protests demanding change at the University level.

“It doesn’t matter if we help one person learn more about what’s going on or 200 people,” the MSA officer said. “Every single person matters because every single person’s voice is going to make a difference.”

Students with varying positions on the Israel-Palestine conflict approached the tables. Some came to sign petitions and learn about pro-Palestine advocacy, while others wanted to better understand the current violence in Gaza.

Psychology sophomore Kosmia Cooley said the takeover was one of her first opportunities to learn about the long history behind this conflict.

“I wasn’t aware how the whole situation started and why it was happening until I went up to the table to get more information,” Cooley said.

Several volunteers said they were pleasantly surprised by some students’ enthusiasm to learn more about Palestine despite the controversy surrounding the issue. One volunteer, an anonymous engineering junior, said some people asked for flyers instead of waiting for them to be offered.

“I’m happy to see people are interested in learning about what we’re trying to say,” the volunteer said.

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