Across the country, universities have failed to take a stance against injustice, discrimination, displacement, and oppression. But with this hunger strike, you have taken a stance, and it is a just, a dignified and a courageous one. Your action is a powerful example for the forces of change on campuses all over the United States.
Why do students have to go on hunger strike to engage their university? Why do students have to physically stop eating in order for their university to listen to them? The answer is clear: We are their most precious commodity. When we put our health and our lives on the line, we threaten their claims to legitimacy and their hold on power. The hunger strike shatters the illusion by striking at its heart. Complacency is not a lesson worth learning. Solidarity is a lesson worth sharing. Dissent is a lesson worth sharing.
They say they are "for" us, but our universities are not "of" us or "with" us. They are not ours. These are not democratic institutions. These are not places of true learning. But they could be. With every action, with every strike, we are taking back our universities, and we are standing with those who will not let their communities be taken from them.
Last May, Harvard students staged a hunger strike for workers' rights, for an end to poverty wages and the abuse of security guards on campus. Our strike was part of a broader movement among the students of this country to refuse to accept what is being done in our name, and to struggle for another kind of university. Our campaign was won, and we are confident that you, too, will win your demands. Justice is on your side, and so are we.
Some people may, as they did at Harvard, try to make you feel alone in your work, in your passion, in your struggle. But know that you are not alone. You are many, they are few. You have more supporters and allies, brothers and sisters than you may know, in your city and around the world. This statement of solidarity from the Harvard hunger strikers comes from Boston, comes from New York, comes from England, comes from Mexico.
There's an old saying from the labor movement: We'll hold out one day more. One day more than the bosses. One day more than the administration. We know you will. We are with you, and we will be with you to the end.
Alyssa Aguilera, Javier Castro, Michael Gould-Wartofsky, Kyle Krahel, Ben Landau-Beispiel, Kelly Lee, Jamila Martin, Jose Olivarez, Matthew Opitz, Kaveri Rajaraman, Jennifer Provost, and Supporters Geoff Carens and Austin Guest