Johns Hopkins University students gathered on Thursday, May 12, to commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Nakba—or “catastrophe”—when, in 1948, what was once Palestine was no longer recognized and was recognized as Israel. Many were killed during what the official account of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement called “Israel’s campaign of ethnic cleansing.” At least 750,000 Palestinians were displaced. Those advocating for the fundamental human rights of Palestinians argue that the Nakba continues to this day. “The Nakba is ongoing. Families just this week in the village of Massafer Yatta were expelled from their homes,” Students For Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Johns Hopkins, who held Thursday’s event, explained on Instagram.
Members of Prevent Nuclear War Maryland, a Baltimore-based anti-war, anti-nuclear weapons organization, protested the University’s involvement in nuclear weapons research with the U.S. government on Friday, Jan. 22. The group also celebrated the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) — a legally binding international treaty prohibiting the development, ownership and deployment of nuclear weapons by nations. A United Nations working group was formed in 2016 with a mandate to devise legal provisions to create a nuclear-free world. While it was supported by 123 countries, the U.S., the U.K., France and Russia voted against the group alongside Israel, a country that is widely believed to be a nuclear power. China, India and Pakistan abstained.
Two weeks after Johns Hopkins University administrators announced what they called a two-year “pause” on a controversial plan to establish their own private police force, about 100 students, faculty and community members marched to the home of Hopkins President Ronald Daniels to tell him that this proposed pause is not enough. Wearing masks and trying to keep six feet apart, demonstrators gathered on June 29 at Tubman Grove near Wyman Park Dell, holding up signs with familiar slogans like “NO JHU PRIVATE POLICE” and new messages like “ABOLISH, NOT DELAY” and “IN 2 YEARS, COPS WILL STILL BE KILLERS.” Professor of Political Science and Africana Studies Lester Spence cited the reasons he has been opposed since Hopkins first announced plans for a private police force in March 2018.
On May Day, food service workers led a socially distanced protest at the campus of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, taking part in the international day of action to defend workers and highlight the disparate impact COVID-19 is having across the country. Donning masks, the workers read the names of their 188 colleagues who have been laid off amid the pandemic, 98 percent of whom are Black, according to UNITE HERE Local 7. The demonstration comes as Johns Hopkins, a world-renowned medical and research institution, has mobilized its resources to combat the pandemic. The university had an estimated $4.35 billion endowment in 2019. Johns Hopkins University and Hospital have been helping lead the international response to COVID-19, from mapping its spread and tracking testing data, to developing a vaccine.