Students Supporting Israel Gains Momentum At Kent State

Students Supporting Israel Gains Momentum At Kent State

A movement for peace.
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As a woman that grew up in the Western World, I feel like sometimes it is hard to grasp the very real and very horrific state of countries on the opposite side of the globe. I had growing interest in what is happening in the Middle East and wondered how we could achieve peace. It all just seemed too big and too hard to change anything. However, in the past couple of years being in college and creating friendships with people of so many diverse religions and cultures, I am learning so much more about the world and how I can help out.

Today I had the chance to sit down and talk with the president of the Students Supporting Israel at Kent State University, and a good friend of mine, Sophia Witt. SSI is a new movement at KSU this year, but it is growing rapidly. Students across campus are coming together to show their support for Israel and call for peace in the Middle East. Since she is the president, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about SSI and ask her some questions about how to get involved.


What is SSI?

SSI is Students Supporting Israel at Kent State. We are a pro-Israel grassroots peace movement that supports co-existing, human rights, and peace, all of which Israel represents.

Why is it important for students to stay aware of the issues in the Middle East?
It’s happening in the world around them. Even though we’re in the United States, it is important to pay attention to everything. Eventually it all gets back to the United States. Everyone comes to us because we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. The U.S. is always involved. So I believe it’s important for everyone to know about allies as well as enemies in the Middle East.


How can students get involved at Kent State or other universities they may attend?

Staying active in news and reading articles and being informed. Students Supporting Israel is just a statement, really - that you support peace. You support Israel. A country that is so diverse and so accepting in all things. And being an informed citizen and human being that supports peace in Israel is being a member. Share articles and information. Write articles. Talk about Israel with friends. Talk about peace in the Middle East.
Also, feel free to come to our meetings on Thursdays from 7:30-8:30PM – we usually have food. We talk about current events and how to get more people informed. The overall message of SSI is to be informed and know what is happening in Israel.

Are there other branches of SSI in other universities?

Yes! There are 48 chapters officially now, spreading across the world. It was founded in Minnesota and since then it has prospered and branched out to different campuses in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. It is a movement. It’s not just a club, it’s really like a way of life. It’s being a Zionist. I think there are members of SSI who don’t even know they’re members yet.


Do you have to be Jewish to be a member of SSI?
Absolutely not. SSI has a diverse group of followers. Israel itself is a Jewish state, however the country is so diverse. It’s accepting of all denominations. So any religion is accepted in SSI. If you support Israel, co-existence, and human rights, then you meet the requirements of SSI.

Is there anything else you feel should be known about the Students Supporting Israel movement?
I think that it’s important for people to know that we’re a family. We aren’t just a group or club. We are a force that stands together for something bigger than us. It’s not about who’s better than who, it’s bigger. We’re bonded together to create peace and I think that’s very important to understand.

Thank you for doing an interview with me, Sophia.
I want to spread awareness about SSI so thank you for writing an article about us!




I think it is very critical for young adults to keep up with what is happening in other parts of the world. It can be hard to do with so much going on and our media can be very selective in what they cover. But with the internet and social media it is much easier to stay in touch and informed than ever before. We have the opportunity to learn from the past and create ways to spread peace in the future. SSI is an incredible movement that is trying to achieve peace. I believe if we come together we can look to the future with hope and know that it’s not too hard to change.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Witt

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Pride? Pride.

Who are we? Why are we proud?

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This past week, I was called a faggot by someone close to me and by note, of all ways. The shock rolled through my body like thunder across barren plains and I was stuck paralyzed in place, frozen, unlike the melting ice caps. My chest suddenly felt tight, my hearing became dim, and my mind went blank except for one all-encompassing and constant word. Finally, after having thawed, my rage bubbled forward like divine retribution and I stood poised and ready to curse the name of the offending person. My tongue lashed the air into a frenzy, and I was angry until I let myself break and weep twice. Later, I began to question not sexualities or words used to express (or disparage) them, but my own embodiment of them.

For members of the queer community, there are several unspoken and vital rules that come into play in many situations, mainly for you to not be assaulted or worse (and it's all too often worse). Make sure your movements are measured and fit within the realm of possible heterosexuality. Keep your music low and let no one hear who you listen to. Avoid every shred of anything stereotypically gay or feminine like the plague. Tell the truth without details when you can and tell half-truths with real details if you must. And above all, learn how to clear your search history. At twenty, I remember my days of teaching my puberty-stricken body the lessons I thought no one else was learning. Over time I learned the more subtle and more important lessons of what exactly gay culture is. Now a man with a head and social media accounts full of gay indicators, I find myself wondering both what it all means and more importantly, does it even matter?

To the question of whether it matters, the answer is naturally yes and no (and no, that's not my answer because I'm a Gemini). The month of June has the pleasure of being the time of year when the LGBT+ community embraces the hateful rhetoric and indulges in one of the deadly sins. Pride. Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, the figures at the head of the gay liberation movement, fought for something larger than themselves and as with the rest of the LGBT+ community, Pride is more than a parade of muscular white men dancing in their underwear. It's a time of reflection, of mourning, of celebration, of course, and most importantly, of hope. Pride is a time to look back at how far we've come and realize that there is still a far way to go.

This year marks fifty years since the Stonewall Riots and the gay liberation movement launched onto the world stage, thus making the learning and embracing of gay culture that much more important. The waves of queer people that come after the AIDS crisis has been given the task of rebuilding and redefining. The AIDS crisis was more than just that. It was Death itself stalking through the community with the help of Regan doing nothing. It was going out with friends and your circle shrinking faster than you can try or even care to replenish. Where do you go after the apocalypse? The LGBT+ community was a world shut off from access by a touch of death and now on the other side, we must weave in as much life as we can.

But we can't freeze and dwell of this forever. It matters because that's where we came from, but it doesn't matter because that's not where we are anymore. We're in a time of rebirth and spring. The LGBT+ community can forge a new identity where the AIDS crisis is not the defining feature, rather a defining feature to be immortalized, mourned, and moved on from.

And to the question of what does it all mean? Well, it means that I'm gay and that I've learned the central lesson that all queer people should learn in middle school. It's called Pride for a reason. We have to shoulder the weight of it all and still hold our head high and we should. Pride is the LGBT+ community turning lemons into lemon squares and limoncello. The lemon squares are funeral cakes meant to mourn and be a familiar reminder of what passed, but the limoncello is the extravagant and intoxicating celebration of what is to come. This year I choose to combine the two and get drunk off funeral cakes. Something tells me that those who came before would've wanted me to celebrate.

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