Virginia Tech students and Blacksburg community members met in Blacksburg on Saturday, Jan. 25, for a No War with Iran Rally as part of a "Global Day of Protest" to oppose going to war with Iran.
Tensions between the U.S. and Iran recently escalated after a U.S. airstrike killed an Iranian military commander Qasem Soleimani in Iraq on Jan. 2, 2020.
People across the United States are now rallying to raise awareness and pressure the government to deescalate the situation. Cities in more than 40 states also held protests, and other countries like Japan, New Zealand and Poland have held rallies as well.
Student organizations at Virginia Tech including Young Democratic Socialists of America, Hokies for Bernie Sanders, New River Workers Power and Appalachian Climate Action gathered on Henderson Lawn to hear speeches and show support for the global movement.
“I think (this issue is) quintessential to this university because we’re just a stone’s throw away from the Corp of Cadets dorm,” said Jeremy Smith, building construction major and organizer of the event. “You’re looking at a place that started as a military institution. Militarism is ingrained in this university, so an antiwar movement at Virginia Tech –– there’s something to be said about that.”
Smith and other members of student groups gave speeches at the event inviting students and community members to rally behind this cause.
“I think it’s super important to get involved. I would recommend joining one of our many clubs,” Smith said. “There’s Hokies for Bernie, where one of Bernie’s big planks is an antiwar movement and getting our troops out of Iraq, bringing our troops home from Afghanistan. You could get involved in groups like the Environmental Coalition, or even getting involved in the community is super important.”
Despite the serious topic of the rally, organizers highlighted the event’s overarching message of community.
“It’s important to do events like this to know that there are other people who will stand in solidarity with you,” Smith said. “It’s important to never get so disheartened that you feel alone. It feels good to be part of a movement.”