A Yemeni student speaker addressing this year’s City University of New York Law School graduates called on classmates to lead the fight “against capitalism, racism, imperialism, and Zionism around the world.”
“That as Israel continues to indiscriminately rain bullets and bombs on worshippers, murdering the old the young, attacking even funerals and graveyards, as it encourages lynch mobs to target Palestinian homes and businesses, as it imprisons its children, as it continues its project of settler colonialism expelling Palestinians from their homes, carrying the ongoing Nakba, that our silence is no longer acceptable,” Fatima Mohammed told her fellow classmates at the May 12 ceremony.
Mohammed, selected to speak by the Class of 2023, began her speech by commending the CUNY School of Law for being “one of very few legal institutions created to recognize that the law is a manifestation of white supremacy that continues to oppress and suppress people in this nation and around the world.”
“We joined this institution to be equipped with the necessary legal skills to protect our communities, to protect the organizers … working to lift the facade of legal neutrality and confront the systems of oppression that wreck violence on them,” she told her fellow graduates.
“Systems of oppression created to feed an empire with a ravenous appetite for destruction and violence. Institutions created to intimidate, bully, and sensor and stifle the voices of those who resist.”
Mohammed praised the CUNY School of Law for supporting the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement and making “a public statement defending the right of its students to organize and speak out against Israeli settler colonialism.”
“We are the student body and faculty that fought back when investor focus admin attempted to cross the BDS picket line saying loud and clear that Palestine can no longer be the exception to our pursuit of justice, that our morality will not be purchased by investors,” she said.
Mohammed, who was interrupted several times by applause, said her class fought for incarcerated clients, for “families torn apart” by the Administration for Children’s Service, and against the use of Lexus, a legal research company contracted with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“We did all of this in spite of the racism, in spite of the selective activism, the self-serving interest of CUNY Central [Office], an institution that continues to fail us, that continues to train and cooperate with the fascist NYPD, the military,” she said. “That continues to train IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers to carry out that same violence globally. A larger institution committed to its donors, not to its students.”
Mohammed, who also quoted Malcolm X and condemned the “murder” of Jordan Neely on a New York City subway car, concluded her speech by saying: “May the rage that fills this auditorium dance in the hallways of elementary schools” … “and fuel the fight against capitalism, racism, imperialism and Zionism around the world.”
Anti-Israel activist Nerdeen Kiswani spoke at last year’s CUNY Law School graduation ceremony.
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