Last Friday, students from across the Claremont Colleges came together to buy and sell artwork to raise funds for the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). The fundraiser, held on Nov. 10 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Pomona College’s Walker Hall, was organized to raise awareness and funds for the ongoing humanitarian crisis facing Palestinian children.
The event was approved by Pomona, but was solely student-organized and run. According to the organizer of the event, who requested anonymity due to safety concerns, more than 200 students attended the fundraiser, which raised a total of $4,889.01. In the days since the event, continued donations have raised this figure. The fundraiser is still open.
These contributions were collected through a 5C Student Arts and Crafts Market Fundraiser page on the PCRF website. Students purchasing artwork could scan QR codes displayed at each of the vendors’ booths and then donate to the fundraising page to make a purchase.
The donations go directly to the PCRF, a non-governmental organization founded in 1991. According to its website, PCRF’s mission is to “provide medical and humanitarian relief to Arab children throughout the Levant, regardless of nationality, politics or religion.”
The website explains that donations toward the organization benefit both patients and local doctors-in-training.
“Your donation allows PCRF to deliver on its humanitarian mission and send international volunteer medical missions to treat sick and injured patients while training local doctors,” the PCRF donation page states. In Gaza specifically, the website claims to be using donations to supply basic necessities like food, water and shelter to those in need.
For some 5C artists, selling art to generate funds for PCRF last Friday was a way to show their support for Palestinians and offer aid during the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
Illustrator Dani LaLuzerne PZ ’25 was one of the artists selling their work at the fundraiser.
“I hope that the funds can provide some sort of relief to the pain and the difficulties happening there right now,” LaLuzerne said. “And I also think it’s nice to use art as a way of doing these things, because it’s something that provides a more hopeful way of doing it.”
Some of LaLuzerne’s art included prints of birds from around campus, hand-drawn portraits of attending students and linocut prints of watermelon — which has been adopted as a symbol of Palestinian resistance.
Other artists sold products ranging from handmade earrings and hand-knit hats to a wide variety of prints, zines and posters. One booth offered astrology and tarot readings, while another had gel nail designs available for students to receive a manicure.
Linsey Wong PO ’27 hand-assembled and sold Italian charm bracelets, allowing buyers to personalize the bracelet by choosing each individual charm.
“When I assemble them, I can tell a lot about a person just from the charms they choose. It’s amazing to see how different people are, and to see their interests and just who they are as a person,” Wong explained.
Some of the art sold was very topical to the mission of the fundraiser. Julianna Deibel SC ’24 and her friends collaborated to fill their booth with linocut prints they designed. Amongst Deibel’s print designs was a print of the Palestine Sunbird perched on a branch bordered by the Keffiyeh pattern.
“The Palestine Sunbird is the national bird of Palestine and has been used as a symbol for resistance,” Deibel said. “In the past, authorities from the Israeli occupation tried to change its name.”
A particular quote from Palestinian poet Tamim Al-Barghouti inspired Deibel’s own artwork: “‘Whenever you face injustice or roughness, remember to defend yourself by finding beauty … document, prove and defend it because all beauty is resistance,’” she quoted.
The high turnout at the fundraiser was a happy surprise for organizers and artists alike.
“Since I was only organizing this in an individual capacity, I was shocked that the event reached this many people, both in terms of the amount of student vendors and the people who turned out,” the anonymous organizer said. “It would not have been possible without the community coming together.”
To Andrea Robinowitz PZ ’25, who sold handmade earrings at the event, it was inspiring to see students from all of the Claremont Colleges come together and share their unique skills for the same cause.
“It is encouraging to see that there are a lot of students, parents and community members who are energized for and supportive of actions for Palestinian liberation,” she said.
Some students expressed their hope that the support shown towards Palestinians at the fundraiser extends beyond the event.
“It is essential to keep in mind that humanitarian aid toward Palestinians only goes so far,” the anonymous organizer said. “We cannot lose hope. We must resolve ourselves to doing every little thing we can, because those things still make little differences.”
Robinowitz said there are more ways in which students can support Palestinians aside from donating to humanitarian aid.
“Students should get involved in leftist organizing on campus and keep an eye out on social media for actions and opportunities for political education,” Robinowitz said. “On the websites uspcr.org and jewishvoiceforpeace.org, there are templates and scripts to call and email your representatives and ask for a cease-fire in Gaza.”