On November 15th, Saint Xavier University’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) hosted their first annual Fundraising Dinner in the Butler Reception Hall. The event began at 7pm and ended after 9pm.
SJP is a student-run organization which advocates for justice, human rights, and self-determination for Palestinians. There are currently over 160 SJP chapters located in different universities from the United States.
The funds raised at the dinner went towards the Zakat Foundation Build Gaza campaign and for SXU SJP’s future events. Students, staff, and the community were welcome to attend. The event offered middle eastern cuisine and desserts for all attendees and guest speakers. In addition, there was a raffle with a prize that was done at the end of the event.
The event started with welcoming remarks from SJP’s co-president, Bilal Shouly. This was followed by the guest speakers who were described as “professional and accomplished figures in their fields” and have been very active in the community. The guest speakers were Hadeel Abderrhaman, SXU and SJP alumni; Abdelhamid Omran, Zakat Foundation representative; Tarek Khalil Esq., local attorney and activist; and, Dr. Nina Shoman-Dajani, Assistant Dean, Learning Enrichment and College Readiness MVCC.
Students and attendees expressed their opinion about the event.
“It was very motivational, it was an eye-opener. I feel like maybe more people from outside our culture should be aware of and to try to get the point across to them if it’s possible,” said Hana Odeh.
“The food was really good, I love trying food from other cultures. It was a good experience [learning] from another culture,” said SXU sophomore, Denisse Espana.
“The food was great. The speakers themselves were really good and motivational. They said very interesting things that I think people should learn [and to] have the common knowledge about Palestine,” said Feda Odeh.
Co-president of SXU’s SJP, Bilal Shouly, was satisfied with the outcome and is looking forward to having more attendees for the next annual fundraising dinner. “I hope with this event and with our guest speakers, we helped answer any questions [the attendees] had . . . we hope [that] we at least [gave the attendees] an idea of what’s going on, of where we come from, where we were displaced from, and what SJP is trying to push as part of its agenda,” said Shouly.
Sana Odeh, co-president of SXU’s SJP, was also very satisfied with the outcome. “I was very happy with the turnout of this event. I wanted everyone from the community, faculty and staff to come together over dinner to understand what we are here for and to reestablish our purpose on campus. Also, to spread awareness on what’s going on, just because it’s not happening here, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. We hope this reestablishes SJP for future events and to help with more campaigns such as the rebuilding Gaza campaign mentioned in the dinner,” said Odeh.
For more information about SXU’s SJP you may email contact them at SjpSaintXavier@gmail.com
Senior News Editor