Valentine’s Day in April

Savannah Joslin / IC

Savannah Joslin / IC

Jessica Harker, Managing Editor

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“On Valentine’s Day, we give the people that we love, we give them books.”

Each year on April 23, La Diada de Sant Jordi, St. George’s Day or referred to as Valentine’s Day in some cultures, is celebrated by a multitude of people all over the world with the exchange of books with loved ones.

Former UT basketball player Inma Zanoguera, a graduate student in the English as a second language program, said the above quote and explained that she spent the last few years celebrating this holiday on her own, although it has always been her favorite from her culture.

“Every year I would celebrate by giving a book to a friend, or to myself, or what not,” Zanoguera said.

This year, however, Zanoguera said she decided to make a change and began working with the Students for Justice in Palestine to help organize a book collection to send help to form an English language library in Gaza, Palestine.

Zanoguera said the idea came to her after reading an article about the situation in Gaza and their need for books.

“I don’t know, I guess I just decided to go big and I just said, ‘I am going to help these guys, and on the 23rd, I am going to send all the books I am able to collect from now until then,’” Zanoguera said. “So I have been working since then to try to organize this.”

Zanoguera said she then reached out to Shahrazad Hamdah, the president of SJIP, and together they began to organize the drive. The books were mailed a day early on April 22 in honor of St. George’s Day because the post office was closed on the actual holiday.

“Students for Justice in Palestine is a pro-Palestine advocacy group on campus and in the community,” Hamdah said. “We aim to educate people about the occupation of Palestine and the human rights violations that occur there, so this project interested us because we want to do what we can to contribute to Palestinian society in the West Bank and Gaza.”

The group has been working since the end of March to organize the donations and were able to collect over 250 books, with the original goal being only 100.

Zanoguera said the funding for shipping the books came from SJIP and because they exceeded their collection expectations by so much and because of budgeting limitations, not all of the books were able to be sent.

“I think what ended up happening was we put some flyers on Facebook and stuff, but we mostly reached out to our closest friends,” Zanoguera said, “and just by doing that we collected so many books.”

Though this is the first time the group has put on an event like this, Hamdah said that they hope to repeat the event, either in the summer or in the fall.

To become involved with SJIP you can go to their Facebook page at  www.facebook.com/utoledosjp.

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Valentine’s Day in April