Credit: Freedom Messiah

On January 30, ahead of a City Council vote on a Gaza cease-fire resolution, CPS students around the city banded together in protest of the U.S financial and military support of Israel in its war on Gaza. Around noon, hundreds of students from more than a dozen schools left their hallways and flooded the City Hall lobby sharing megaphones, holding signs and alternating chants on their way. 

Before heading downtown, students gathered in front of Walter Payton College prep, Lincoln Park High School, Lane Tech College Prep, Curie Metropolitan High School, Jones College Prep and several other school entrances. Amongst the teens was Kenwood Academy student, Freedom Messiah, who took these photos. “I think it was so important for us to do this because we needed show our government, the Palestinians, and our country the raw emotions we have about the genocide that the Israeli government is committing,” says Messiah. “Looking back on it now, I’m still so amazed that we were able to pull it off, and I would absolutely do it all again.”

The next day, Mayor Brandon Johnson broke a 23-23 tie to pass the resolution, which called for a “permanent cease-fire to end the ongoing violence” in Gaza, the delivery of “humanitarian assistance including medicine, food, and water” and for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.” The vote made Chicago the largest city in America to adopt such a resolution.

Since the October 7 attack by Hamas, in which around 1,200 Israelis were killed according to the Israeli Defense Forces, Israel launched a bombing campaign and ground invasion of Gaza, killing more than 28,000 Palestinians, of which 12,000 have been children according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and displacing more than a million people. More than half a million Palestinians are at risk of famine due to the Israeli blockade of aid, and all the hospitals in the area have been rendered mostly inoperational by Israeli bombing. A January ruling by the International Court of Justice found that it is “plausible” that Israel is committing genocide. President Biden has continued to support Israel with military and financial aid.

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