Student groups at Northwestern University join forces against G4S
Solidarity has formed at Northwestern University between Unshackle NU and NU Divest as both are sponsoring resolutions calling for Northwestern University to remove its investments in the world’s largest private security company, Group 4 Securicor (G4S).
Late last month, the organizers of the two initiatives held a demonstration featuring a depiction of the mistreatment detainees face at the hands of G4S security personnel.
A letter of support submitted to North by Northwestern prior to the demonstration explained the importance of the bond and that it goes further than just both resolutions including G4S. Together, they face systems like white supremacy and colonialism that seek to hold down Black and Brown bodies.
“The letter went with the action, kind of like as a prep,” NU Divest member Yusuf Kudaimi told Palestine in America. “The demonstration depicted G4S officers who had detainees tied up with rope. And so we left it ambiguous sort of to show all of the kinds of people of color that G4S really assists in incarcerating. So, while they were sitting there the detainees would read stories of individuals whether it was an undocumented migrant or a Palestinian. One of the stories was about a Palestinian who was shot several times while resisting arrest. So we had those stories being shouted out while other statistics were thrown out.”
Blatant intersectionalities of the struggles different groups of people are forced to go through because of G4S are what led Unshackle NU and NU Divest to publicly support one another’s resolutions.
“It was a spectacle. The location was by the Rock on campus which is kind of like a symbol, like an important landmark on campus. We timed it for when people were coming in and out of classes so a lot of people saw us. And people stopped and watched and we advertised for a teach-in we had later in the day with MEChA, and that was about G4S activity on the border [of the U.S. and Mexico]. [NU Divest and Unshackle NU] co sponsored events together earlier in the quarter. But this was like a strong, I guess, showing of solidarity for all the campus to see that we are really in this together and you can’t really support one without the other,” Kudaimi said.
NU Divest passed their resolution last year on Feb. 19, almost one year to the date of the demonstration. It called for Northwestern to divest from six corporations that are complicit in humans rights abuses in Palestine. On March 3, Northwestern Associated Student Government passed Unshackle NU’s divestment resolution, which called on the University to divest from private prisons and the industrial prison complex.
“Our solidarity is only as valuable as we continue to practice it in action and understand more deeply how we have all been wounded similarly and differently by racial-colonial systems of power,” NU Divest and Students for Justice in Palestine at Northwestern member Cinthya Rodriguez told Palestine in America.