The Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, was officially founded in January of 2013. The group had originally come together during Operation Pillar of Cloud, in late fall of 2012. This passionate group of students first came out in solidarity with the Palestinians during this war. All from different student organizations, such as Amnesty International, the Middle Eastern Student Association, and the Progressive Student Alliance, we united to call ourselves the “Gaza Action Group.” After several planning meetings, the group co-hosted a candlelight vigil with the Hillel Jewish Student Organization titled, “Light a Candle for Peace.” The names of both Palestinian and Israeli martyrs were read.
We began in the spring as the Students for Justice in Palestine at UTK, part of a national movement on campuses around the country. SJP was approved as an official campus organization on April 23, 2013, with Dr. Brian K. Barber as its faculty sponsor.