On Monday evening, members of Democratic Socialists of DePauw (DSD) hosted a Pro-Palestine Multilingual Reading of the poem “If I Must Die,” written by the late Palestinian poet Dr. Refaat Alareer. Nearly 40 students gathered in Holton Quad to hear the poem reading. This event kicked off DSD’s week-long “Solidarity Camp” for Palestine, demonstrating solidarity with those who are engaging in encampments on university campuses nationwide. 

DSD had worked on planning this “Solidarity Camp” since last semester. According to America Bañuelos ‘24, a member of the DSD Executive Council, DSD was inspired to try and bring back “Peace Camps,” an old campus tradition started by the Peace and Conflict Studies department to rethink the current notions of peace.

“We decided to dub it ‘Solidarity Camp’ because we also wanted to not make light of the encampments that are being set up across the nation by our comrades and by people our ages and by people in different colleges and universities,” Bañuelos said. She emphasized that the poetry reading was not a form of protesting but rather a show of solidarity and a peaceful way for the community to come together.

Image of the Democratic Socialists of DePauw’s pro-Palestine banner. Credit: Kisa Tamai.

Fellow member of the DSD Executive Council Vivienne Edwards ‘24, explained the significance of hosting a multilingual poem reading. “We wanted students who speak languages other than English to really take up space in other languages on the quad and take up space in solidarity,” Edwards said, emphasizing that “there are no universities left in Gaza for people to read poetry at.”


About ten students read the poem in ten different languages, including Kiswahili, Nepali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.

While setting up for the event at around 4:50 p.m, executive members of DSD received phone calls and text messages from students across campus regarding a group of students approaching Holton Quad with a large Israeli flag and several U.S. flags.

Pro-Israel student protestors, set up in East College lawn.Although several executive members of DSD called DePauw Police for assistance, they were informed that the situation would not require officer assistance, as the protestors had not physically disrupted DSD’s event. DSD reminded attendees that their event was not a protest and resumed their reading and kite building. The student protestors disbanded around 5:30 p.m. As they left, DSD participants reported hearing the pro-Israel protesters chanting “U.S.A.” According to an anonymous student who attended the pro-Israel protest, the protesters began chanting “U.S.A” in response to DSD participants cheering as the protesters left. 

For the remainder of the week, DSD has planned a conversation on Wednesday with Shaka Shakur, a political prisoner held by the Indiana Department of Corrections since 2002, covering topics such as military, incarceration, and industrial conflicts in the United States. On Friday, DSD organized a Senior Send Off and alumni panel with DSD’s founders, discussing what community organizing may look like after graduation. More information may be found on DSD’s Instagram.

Note: Edited on May 8, 2024, at 1:40 p.m. to clarify that pro-Israel protesters began chanting as they left East College Lawn, in response to cheers by DSD participants cheering at their departure.