What We’ve Been Up To…

It has been a frantic few weeks for the Justice4Sanaz campaign and we’ve been busy on on toes. After the successful #UnisResistBorderControls event campaign launch that we co-organized with SOAS Students’ Union, we are now coordinating long-term actions that we hope will provide non-EU international students, academics, and university workers with much needed help and support to oppose the neoliberalized and xenophobic structures dominating British higher education.

Sanaz will be attending Campaign Bootcamp 6 this Saturday. She was selected as the recipient of the Shami Chakrabati Scholarship for BME Campaigners. Sanaz had to post-pone attending Campaign Bootcamp 5 in October 2015 because of health problems. We are delighted Sanaz is in good health and will joining 30 other campaigners from all over the world, including our friend and supporter, disabled-rights campaigner, Eleanor Linsey, in London to learn better techniques for managing the Justice4Sanaz campaign and the new initiative we are working on with other grassroots activists, #UnisResistBorderControls. We are excited for Sanaz! Additionally, she will be doing short vlogs during her week at Campaign Bootcamp.

Here is a brief run-down of what Justice4Sanaz has accomplished in the past two months…

Right after the #UnisResistBorderControls event, Sanaz gave her solidarity to our friend and fellow activist, Luqman Onikosi. On the 9th March 2016, students and activists, part of the #DontDeportLuqman campaign occupied Bramber House at the University of Sussex united against the racist border controls that may very well cost Luqman his life.

On Saturday 12th March 2016, Justice 4 Sanaz joined Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary, No Borders Leeds, Fighting Against Casualisation in Education, Sisters Uncut along with many other groups around the country at Surround #YarlsWood demonstration: Detention Centres SHUT THEM DOWN!

Photos from the demo can be found here:


Sanaz Raji at the Surround Yarl’s Wood demo on Saturday 12th March 2016. Photo by Mark Kerrison.

Sanaz also attended an Alternative Academia Workshop at Goldsmiths, University of London on the 17th April 2016, and met many other academics also finding ways to combat and resist against marketized and neoliberalized educational structures.

Additionally, Sanaz was also present at the National Demo-Bring Cleaners In-House at SOAS, University of London, supporting the SOAS Justice For Cleaners 10 year campaign as non-EU migrant labors to be paid and treated with respect and dignity. The #UnisResistBorderControls published this statement in solidarity with the demo. Sanaz spoke at the protest and reminded the crowd that border controls and surveillance permeates every corner of university life for non-EU international students, academics, and university workers. When Sanaz mentioned what happened in 2009, when SOAS management called in UKVI for a surprise raid on cleaners who were a part of the SOAS Justice For Cleaners campaign, with 9 activists consequently deported, the crowd began to shout, “Shame, shame, shame!”

Finally, we’d like to thank the Right to Remain campaign and Newcastle’s Beyond Borders group for organizing the Northern Gathering of migrant-rights activists on the 30th April 2016. Campaigners and activists from Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, and Newcastle attended and shared their ideas for building better networks and actions. It was a fantastic day and we made great links with some fantastic activists and community groups!

Many thanks again to those who have continued to donate to this campaign. We are looking forward to the new initiatives that we are involved with and thank everyone for being so incredibly supportive! As ever, #‎TearDownBordersNotBrightThinkers‬!!!

About justice4sanaz

For 3 years, Sanaz Raji, a non-EU international student from the United States, has waged a fearless and brave fight against institutional aggression, bullying, and racism from the School of Media and Communication (formerly the Institution of Communications Studies) University of Leeds. The School of Media and Communication took away Sanaz's scholarship in August 2011, only 2 weeks before the start of her third year into her PhD studies. The School of Media and Communication breached their own procedures and rules concerning evaluating student progress. By taking away Sanaz's scholarship, the School of Media and Communication prevented her from continuing her studies in addition to having a decent standard of living with food and shelter that all students expect as a human right. In waging her battle for equal rights for non-EU international students, Sanaz was evicted from her university accommodation in May 2014, threatened with an ASBO (anti-social behavior order) and now fighting against deportation. All non-EU international students should have the right to challenge their universities for their failings without the threat of harassment or deportation. Justice4Sanaz is a movement to redress the failure of the student movement to discuss the myriad of ways that non-EU students, especially those who are people of color, are silenced, bullied and threatened within the neoliberal British university system.
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