JVP Triangle-NC is so proud to host two amazing student fellows this summer. Meet Noah Byck Mlyn and Davia Young, who will be working on projects for our chapter and BDS coalition throughout the summer:
My name is Noah Byck Mlyn
and I just finished my first year at Vassar College and will be transferring to Brown University in the Spring after a semester off. I was fortunate to be a part of a vibrant Students for Justice in Palestine chapter at Vassar as well as a new, quickly growing JVP chapter. We successfully passed a BDS resolution in our student association which was unfortunately overturned by referendum. Vassar is generally a very progressive campus, and getting the chance to work with members of student government who were excited to learn about opportunities for solidarity and resistance was inspiring. A challenge we encountered, and what eventually led to the resolution’s failure in a school-wide referendum, was the emphasis by students and administrators on “dialogue” in place of real political action..
I am excited to be working together with Davia Young in Durham, NC this summer where we will be working on a BDS resolution to be presented to the city council as well as various smaller projects focusing on chapter membership retention and publicity. We are also helping to organize the monthly chapter meetings centered around a specific topic relevant to our movement. Aside from my activism, I am also a college debater and an actor.
My name is Davia Young, I live in Durham, North Carolina and go to school at Guilford College. I major in Community and Justice Studies and minor in Environmental Studies and Women, Gender, Sexualities Studies. I just spent a semester in Morocco studying Arabic and human rights/multiculturalism, and am going to spend this summer working with the North Carolina Triangle Chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace with Noah Byck Mlyn. Our main project with the Triangle JVP is to draft a BDS resolution to be presented at the Durham City Council, as well as smaller projects like promotional material and membership retention.
I was really involved in my Jewish youth group and community in high school but never really felt like I connected with people on Israel/Palestine politics, and my sophomore year of college I got to spend a month in Israel/Palestine where I had a radical awakening when I realized there was an entire discourse that I was not exposed to as an American or as a Jew, and that being Jewish did not have to mean being Zionist. After a long personal journey I felt it important to continue the fight for Palestinian freedom and against the Israeli occupation within the Jewish community, which led me to JVP.
My school is quite small but we have an active SJP and after a long process for Open Hillel now have a Jewish group called Chavurah, but no JVP chapter yet. Along with my other work, I am the president of the Ultimate Frisbee team, DJ at my college radio station, and am the president of Guilford Peace Society, a club that organizes around local and national social justice issues.
Jewish Voice for Peace-Triangle NC expresses our deep concern about the recent attacks on Masjid Al Madina in Raeford, NC. This past Thursday, bacon was left outside the back entrance to the mosque; a white man with three loaded handguns and additional ammunition in his vehicle threatened to kill members of the mosque, including children gathered there. He then moved to run over people going to evening prayer services.
We know that these attacks are not isolated incidents — this fall, the new Mosque in Burlington received online threats from a local white supremacist group. We also know that this attack did not come out of nowhere — it was precipitated by an anti-Muslim speaker hosted in Pinehurst just a few weeks ago, and occurs in the context of both ongoing racist and Islamophobic rhetoric in the presidential and local elections and a U.S. foreign policy that devalues Muslim lives. We must speak out to challenge hateful rhetoric, because it is clear that it incites physical violence against Muslim people across the state, nation, and globe.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Muslim communities in Raeford and Fayetteville, as you celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. We are in solidarity with you, and will show up to support you however we can — and we call on our communities to do the same.
As we finalize this statement, we are learning of the horrific shooting in Orlando, FL and are distressed both by this attack on LGBTQ communities of color, and by subsequent news coverage demonizing Muslims. We are grateful to those eloquently offering analysis in this time of grief — including the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) and JVP’s National Network Against Islamophobia. We join in MASGD’s call to “resist the forces of division and hatred.”
We are grateful to be fighting Islamophobia as a member of the Movement to End Racism and Islamophobia (MERI), and we hope that our collective efforts, together, will lead to real safety and freedom here in NC and around the globe — for Muslims, Black people, immigrants, people of Color, indigenous people, Jews, LGBTQ people, and all people.