Students who attended CanePAC’s first Student Leadership event likely left with one overarching message ringing in their ears: Leadership is a choice that belongs to every individual.
CanePAC, a new pro-Israel student organization at the University of Miami, invited student leaders from various on-campus organizations to a speech by Gabriel Groisman, mayor of Bal Harbour, Florida.
Groisman, an advocate for strong U.S.-Israel relations, focused his discussion on the importance of cultivating leadership in all pursuits, although he kept the spotlight on his own experiences in government and with pro-Israel activism.
“You don’t want to be a spectator,” he said during the discussion. “You don’t want to be a complainer. When the time comes, you have to stand up and do something.”
The vice president of CanePAC, sophomore Mollie Cole, said the event was meant to educate students who might not have been exposed to the U.S.-Israel relationship otherwise.
“The goals of our organization are to help all students, regardless of religious or political background, learn more about the United States-Israel relationship and how it is relevant to them,” said Cole, a triple major in economics, Spanish and Judaic studies.
CanePAC members, alongside Groisman, encouraged students to think independently on all political topics.
“You have to go out and see things for yourself,” Groisman said. “Your Facebook is not your news.”
Groisman was the first politician to pass municipal anti-BDS legislation, preventing the municipality from entering into business contracts with organizations boycotting Israel or any other nation that participates in free trade with the United States. He’s also been invited twice to speak at the United Nations headquarters in New York and recently returned from a trip to Israel, where he spoke to the nation’s legislative body.
Though Groisman’s speech focused heavily on the two nations’ relationship, CanePAC is open to all students of all religious, ethnic or political backgrounds.
CanePAC President Ally Schwartz said she encourages everyone to get involved with the organization, saying that the U.S.-Israel relationship is “an American issue,” not specific to any one group.
Senior Kyla Samuels-Stewart, president and worship leader of the University Christian Fellowship, said even though she’s not Jewish, she’s passionate about the values for which CanePAC stands.
“I love the bipartisanship,” Samuels-Stewart said. “I love the unity. I love the discussion. I love our ability to be able to distinguish between politics and people.”