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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

The next step

Hawk Hill reflects on SJU March for All


About 300 students, faculty, and staff marched in response to President Trump’s executive order on immigration. The SJU March for All was in solidarity with immigrants and refugees.

Organizers encouraged those who attended to reflect on the community at Saint Joseph’s University and what each person could do to support those affected by the executive order.

“I was overcome by emotions it was really nice seeing people coming out in solidarity with others,” said Umeyye Isra Yazicioglu, Ph.D. associate professor for theology and religious studies. “I think that is one of the reasons why God lets these things happen because when injustice happens it’s sad but it brings out the best in people. There was so much support and people standing up for somebody else and I think that is really profound.”

Yazicioglu is one of the faculty members that spoke at the march and said that after coming from a place where she went through even more difficult executive orders during her college years, she feels that seeing others stand up for things that may not affect them is something worth recognizing.

“I remember when I got kicked out of school because of my headscarf,” Yazicioglu said. “We didn’t have one student walking out with us. Our choice was give up the education or come back without the scarf. There was no sense of people walking out with you saying ‘I don’t wear it but I want to stand up for you.’ I get emotional when I see people standing up for something they don’t necessarily agree with.”

Students who attended saw the march as a good opportunity to speak out as a campus community.

“I attended the march because I feel it is our right as a campus to protest what is going on,” said Paul Ammons ’20. “It is the seed of an effort to begin more political action on campus.”

Ammons thinks student’s roles are to stay educated on what is occurring in the country and be able to see what the other side is thinking.

“Pay attention to current events that are going on,” Ammons said. “Make sure to keep an open mind to both sides not just the liberal side but to look at the arguments to why people may want this. Keep an open mind; that’ll make things better.”

Yazicioglu also thinks that staying educated and understanding other’s views is important to come together as a community to support those who need it.

“Reaching out to each other and trying to understand each other and telling somebody I am here for you,” Yazicioglu said. “There can be a whole kind of negative energy and I think people need to learn and teach because yes, some fears are irrational, but people can be convinced that they are rational. There could be more education about it and more solidarity.”

Students walk through the Post Learning Commons during SJU’s “March For All” (Photo by Luke Malanga, ’20).

Another student who attended said she went because she couldn’t pass up on an opportunity to walk in solidarity for international students at St. Joe’s and for anyone affected in the country.

“While personally I am not affected, I just wanted to go by an empathetic standpoint and it is just something that really caught me,” Rachel Cox ’19 said.

Cox thinks the university is doing everything they should be in response to the executive order.

“They need to continue to show support for its students and show that it is their first priority,” Cox said. “I think they have done a good job so far both with the emails and with Dr. Reed showing up to the march and walking with the students. I think if they continue on that trend they will do a good job.”

The thing that stuck out to Yazicioglu the most from the march was the song “What Have We Done?” that was sung while everyone was marching from the “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” statue to the St. Ignatius statue in fornt of Merion Hall.

“That [the song] was very profound and I think that whatever happens in the world come[s] back to yourself and say ‘What have we done?’ both as the person that is doing the wrong and also someone deserving the wrong,” Yazicioglu said. “I ask myself what have we done wrong as Muslims, in the sense that, maybe we didn’t do a good job of living in the beauty of the faith in its full and letting people see it. We can start with ourselves. What did we do wrong? What have we done? That is refreshingly beautiful.”

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