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Columns

In Our Thousands, In Our Millions

Fight the Power!

Protesters supporting Palestine walked out of class and marched through Harvard's Science Center Plaza, the Kennedy School, and the Law School on Oct. 19.
Protesters supporting Palestine walked out of class and marched through Harvard's Science Center Plaza, the Kennedy School, and the Law School on Oct. 19. By Julian J. Giordano
By Prince A. Williams, Crimson Opinion Writer
Prince A. Williams ’25, a Crimson Editorial Editor, is a History concentrator in Adams House. His column, “Fight the Power!” runs bi-weekly on Mondays.

Initially, it felt overwhelming when my friends and I had our names and faces plastered on a doxxing truck and Canary Mission, an online blacklist for pro-Palestine activists, and witnessed a billionaire’s endorsement of a hiring boycott of people like us on X. But after a few days, these disgusting intimidation tactics by the far-right for our support of Palestine began to fuel our organization: They tried to scare us by threatening our future employment or calling for us to get suspended, yet it only reinforced our commitment to the political and human rights of the Palestinian people.

At the end of the day, fear is something that can be processed. Fear can be overcome through the strength of community.

One of the places I found the strongest sense of that community is the Boston Liberation Center. The BLC is a working-class community center in the heart of Roxbury, a historically Black neighborhood in Boston. The BLC aims to be a space for working-class people wrestling with issues from skyrocketing rents to police brutality. As an organization run by volunteers from the Boston chapter of the Party for Socialism and Liberation, the Center was designed to provide a space for the arts, to learn a people’s history, and build from it a collective future.

Recently, the BLC hosted a political education event on Black and Palestinian solidarity, where they emphasized that Black and Palestinian liberation go hand in hand. The event promoted the understanding that when we see state repression of protests for Black lives in places like Ferguson, we also have to think about the Israeli police and the Israeli army repressing protests in occupied Palestine.

Co-founders of the African and African American Resistance Organization, including myself, spoke at that event. AFRO has been asked by the media and people around us about our concern for our safety. We told those in attendance at the BLC’s educational event that we felt safe with the people — we felt our concerns wash away in massive demonstrations, political education events, and organizing conversations. It’s communities like the one we have at the BLC that are our sources of protection in the face of attack.

Prince A. Williams ’25 stands next to a banner reading "apartheid" at an Oct. 14 rally in Harvard Yard in support of Gaza. Prominent human rights organizations have accused Israel of apartheid within its own borders and in the occupied territories.
Prince A. Williams ’25 stands next to a banner reading "apartheid" at an Oct. 14 rally in Harvard Yard in support of Gaza. Prominent human rights organizations have accused Israel of apartheid within its own borders and in the occupied territories. By Courtesy of Amari M. Butler

I felt completely safe while strategizing with my fellow AFRO members in an organizing meeting. I felt nothing but joy and comfort gathering donations with students in the Harvard Undergraduate Palestine Solidarity Committee for humanitarian aid in Gaza. And I never felt safer than when marching with an estimated 300,000 people in Washington, D.C. demanding a ceasefire, an end to the occupation, and a free Palestine from what virtually every credible human rights organization calls an apartheid state.

No matter how vile these tactics become, our community uplifts us in the face of threatening intimidation and allows us to stand firm in our support of Palestine. Many of us who have faced nasty smear campaigns are more proud than ever to raise our voices for Palestinian liberation. We now see the reaction we received as a sign of great fear amongst those who are complicit and who profit off the oppression of Palestinans.

It is an important responsibility for us organizers who have borne the brunt of these attacks to show courage. When they see us use our names, uncover our faces, and speak at rallies, it cuts through the fear others have of straightening their backs up for this cause. Showing that bravery becomes significantly easier when we have people-centered spaces that empower our causes for justice.

Prince A. Williams ’25, a Crimson Editorial Editor, is a History concentrator in Adams House. His column, “Fight the Power!” runs bi-weekly on Mondays.

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