On Thursday, May 2nd, students from local universities and community members gathered on the campus of The George Washington University (GWU) in downtown DC to show Jewish students they have the support of their peers, allies, friends, and families and that they are not alone in the face of harassment from the loudest voices on campus. As a graduate student at GWU, I received many updates throughout Passover from the school's alert system warning of the evolving situation at the “encampment” at the University Yard. I was hesitant to attend classes on campus and was worried about the safety of the Jewish students who needed to walk by the protests to get to class or study for final exams. 

This is why the rally on May 2nd was a necessary show of solidarity with Jewish students. The Rally Against Campus Antisemitism  was a prime example of celebrating Jewish culture, supporting our community, and advocating for peace, in sharp contrast to the encampment on U-Yard. Students spoke about their personal encounters with antisemitism on campus, the importance of fighting for the release of the hostages in Gaza, and expressed a deep appreciation for the support the students receive each day from the Jewish community and our allies. 

At the conclusion of the rally, attendees danced and sang together to Israeli pop music, laughed with one another, and hugged their friends. Circumstances have made the Jewish people good at finding the light in even the darkest of times, as we have needed to do so many times throughout our history. 

I urge you all to show up for your college friends, family members, and peers. Answer their questions; hear their concerns. The May 2nd rally was a great example of showing up for our community and being the light that they need in this difficult time. 

Written by Brooke Perlman.

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