Every Single Day, Biden Chooses to Continue Funding Genocide

Scenes from the Debt Collective’s “Fund Education, Not Genocide” Rally in Washington, D.C.

Natascha Elena Uhlmann Audio by Ilana Levinson, Photos by Valerie Plesch

Activists and organizers with Debt Collective march to the U.S. Capitol during the Fund Education, Not Genocide protest in Washington, D.C. on May 22, 2024. Valerie Plesch

A dozen Debt Collective members were arrested when a coalition of students, debtors and cease-fire activists gathered recently in Washington, D.C. with a simple demand: Fund Education, Not Genocide.”

“It seems, over and over again, that our country seems to find funds and money and courage when it comes to endless wars.”

Pointing to the Biden administration’s use of executive powers to approve millions of dollars in arms shipments to Israel — and his refusal to use that same authority to advance student debt relief — Debt Collective organizers marched from the Department of Education to the Capitol to make their voices heard.

Democratic Congresswomen Cori Bush (D-MO) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) addressed the crowd, urging attendees to keep the pressure on the Biden administration. It seems, over and over again, that our country seems to find funds and money and courage when it comes to endless wars,” said Tlaib.

At the Capitol, activists unfurled banners reading You Are Not a Loan” and 1,700,000,000,000” (referring to the total student loan debt in the United States) before they were ordered to leave by Capitol police. 

In These Times captured scenes from the rally. Below, community members explain why they attended and what they’re fighting for. 

Mattie Wilson, 44, a homeschool teacher from Westminster, MD with her two daughters Annabelle, 16, and Violet, 14, at the Fund Education, Not Genocide protest outside the Department of Education.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib speaks at the Fund Education, Not Genocide protest outside the Department of Education in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Cory Bush speaks during the Fund Education, Not Genocide protest in Washington, D.C.
Activists and organizers with Debt Collective protest outside the Department of Education.
Activists display signs outside the U.S. Capitol.
Activists and organizers with Debt Collective protest outside the Department of Education.
Activists display signs in protest outside the Department of Education.
Activists and organizers with Debt Collective march to the U.S. Capitol.
Activists display signs in protest outside the Department of Education.
Activists gather at the U.S. Capitol.
Activists and organizers with Debt Collective outside the U.S. Capitol during the Fund Education, Not Genocide protest.
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Natascha Elena Uhlmann is the Audience Engagement Editor at In These Times. A writer and organizer, her work has appeared in The Guardian, Truthout, Rewire News, and Teen Vogue. She is also the author of Abolish ICE.

Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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