Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Letter to Our Oberlin Community

The College and City of Oberlin have always been a place of change and liberation. At the center of the abolitionist movement in the 19th century, Oberlin has always excelled at being a community with a long history of activism and a reputation for being leaders and advocates for human rights. Because of this, we are writing this letter to urge our fellow community members to do our part in protesting what is happening in Gaza. The issue, while it seems polarizing, is not complex. Since Oct. 7, Gaza has faced relentless violence and attacks, rendering nearly all of northern Gaza uninhabitable. Millions of displaced Palestinians now endure life without essentials, housed in refugee camps or makeshift shelters. Now, Israel is poised to launch a ground invasion of Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, and has urged Gazans to evacuate. There are over 1.5 million people in Rafah; more than 600,000 are children. Our community must stand up and fight against the ongoing genocide that is occurring in Gaza.

We must fight for Gazans whose lives are in jeopardy every day. We must honor our legacy of helping others when the world seems against us. When John Price, a runaway slave, was taken captive in a neighboring town, it was our residents, both Black and white, who helped free Price and smuggle him to safety. It was Oberlin residents who fought in the collective fight against oppression, racism, and colonialism to help those like John Price. It was Oberlin that helped educate and inspire powerful figures like Mary Church Terrell, Blanche Kelso Bruce, Mary Jane Patterson, Moses Fleetwood Walker, and more. We must continue to uphold this long-standing tradition of fighting for positive change, even when it is unpopular. Oberlin is a town that celebrates Indigenous Peoples’ Day and acknowledges its colonial past that continues to harm Indigenous communities. Oberlin is a town that honors Juneteenth and Black History Month with programming and events. We must recognize the injustices that are being inflicted upon Palestinians and fight for the principle that every living person is a human being who has the right to feel safe in their own home. This is a right that Gazans do not have. 

Racial justice is a global struggle and battle in which we must participate, as liberation is not exclusive to just those in America but should be fought for worldwide.

Every day, we get up and start our days. 

Some of us go to class, some take their children to school, some go on a morning walk. 

We laugh at jokes and chat with other residents while thinking about what to make for dinner. 

We watch TV with friends or read our children bedtime stories at night. 

No one in Gaza enjoys the right to do these things currently. Children and college students in Gaza can no longer attend school. 

Israel has destroyed all of the universities and many of the schools. Food is no longer a given, and many in Gaza go to sleep hungry as their children cry. We must be outraged at this. As mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, and human beings, we cannot turn a blind eye to what is happening in Gaza. 

We must fight. 

Silence is no longer an answer. Oberlin is witnessing a critical moment in history and must be on the right side of it.

Be it further resolved that we, as Oberlin community members who fight for justice, freedom, and rights for all people, hereby call on President Joe Biden, Representative Bob Latta, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator J.D. Vance, and other U.S. government members to take the following actions: 

Call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire. 

Demand the safe release of all Israeli and Palestinian hostages. 

Call for an immediate restoration of food, water, electricity, and internet to all of Gaza to save as many lives as possible.

Work diligently and aggressively for diplomatic and negotiated solutions for lasting justice, security and safety, and peace for Palestinians and all people in this region.

This letter is written by: 

Nikki Keating, OC ’25;

John Elrod, OC ’23;

Joella Byron-Dixon; 

and Pastor A.G. Miller.

If you’d like to sign this open letter, please add your name below.  Read the full letter here. For full list of signatories visit here.

More to Discover