Ellie Park, Photography Editor

Stemming from an idea in December posed by Buğra Sahin GRD ’26, volunteers tabled in the Schwarzman Rotunda to engage students in calling Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro and advocating for her to support a ceasefire bill in the House

Volunteers from the Yale community staffing the table provided opportunities to call, email and write to DeLauro and other members of Congress. It was held four days during the week of Jan. 29 and three days throughout the week of Feb. 4. Sahin said that over 100 people came by the table through the seven days it was in the Schwarzman Center. While affiliated with the organization Yalies4Palestine, the table was initiated and run independently from the group, per Sahin. 

“I do think a lot of people want to act and do something,” Sahin said “Sometimes, you just need to make it a little easier for them to be able to get over that threshold and actually take action.”

The table offered people who approached a script to call DeLauro’s offices in Washington D.C and New Haven. Sahin said that he based the script on statements from Jewish Voice for Peace’s website. He added that a letter students could sign and send to members of Congress was a modified version of the script for callers.

The script highlights four main demands: a total and permanent ceasefire, allowing humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, an end to Israel’s siege and a halt to the U.S. sending and funding weapons used by the Israeli military. 

DeLauro most recently released a statement on Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza on Dec. 21. In this statement, DeLauro emphasized that she stands with Israel in the wake of the “devastating terrorist attack” and supports the right of Israel to “defend itself and defeat Hamas.” 

In the statement, DeLauro also promoted her support of a two-state solution and her call for a “sustained pause in fighting.” She specified that this sustained pause would include an “immediate” increase in delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza and the release of hostages held by Hamas. 

In its Oct. 7 attack against Israel, Hamas killed 1,200 people and took over 240 people as hostages. Israel responded with a formal declaration of war against Hamas and a military offensive in Gaza. The Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 15 that, according to Israel, Hamas still held more than 130 people hostage. Israeli attacks had killed at least 29,000 Palestinians in Gaza by Feb. 19, according to the territory’s Health Ministry. 

In an effort to free Hamas-held hostages, Israel launched airstrikes last Monday on Rafah, a city in the southern region of the Gaza Strip in which more than one million Palestinians have sought refuge from Israeli attacks. CNN reported on Feb. 19 that Israel plans to expand its military operation in Rafah if Hamas does not free hostages by the start of Ramadan. 

Sahin called it “disappointing” to see what he described as DeLauro’s lack of empathy toward Palestinian kids and families. 

“I’ve seen Rosa care and I would like to see her care for everybody, including Palestinians,” he said. 

When reached by the News for comment on Monday, DeLauro’s office referred the News to DeLauro’s press releases and her work supporting the United Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians

In addition to the December press release, DeLauro released a press statement on Oct. 19 on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in which she voiced both her “unequivocal” support of Israel’s goal in defeating Hamas and her commitment to sending the Palestinian people the “humanitarian aid they need to survive.” DeLauro affirmed her positions in favor of peace, a two-state solution and removing Hamas from power in Gaza.  

There have been protests at Yale and around the country in support of a ceasefire, including one in New Haven on Feb. 7 that halted New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker’s annual State of the City address. 

Sahin said that the main purpose of the table was to make it easier for people to connect with DeLauro and push her to support a ceasefire. 

One staffer at the table, who requested anonymity due to safety concerns, spoke about how they hoped the table would help students reach DeLauro. 

“We are not okay with this; we want a ceasefire,” the staffer said, adding that they hope DeLauro’s support for a ceasefire would help encourage other Democrats to follow suit. 

The anonymous staffer said that seeing “horrific” images and stories on the conflict every day motivated them to volunteer at the table.

Chloe Miller LAW ’25, who volunteered at the table, said that the conflict shouldn’t feel like a distant or disconnected issue. 

Miller said that she thinks all Americans should be concerned, emphasizing the responsibility she thinks individuals have in calling for a ceasefire. 

“As students and as scholars, all of us have a responsibility to be informed and to confront what is happening and to then take action appropriately,” Miller said. 

With constant phone banking, Miller said she hopes it will lead DeLauro to support a ceasefire. 

Sahin and Miller both also emphasized the importance of grassroots activism and the effectiveness of phone banking, even if it is a two-minute call. 

“I want [Yalies] to know that campaigns can work,” Sahin said. “[DeLauro] can change her mind.” 

The anonymous staffer at the table noted that while it can be “easy” for Yale students to tell themselves that they’re busy and thus can disconnect from the world, student activism is vital in pushing for this change. 
Rosa DeLauro has been the U.S. representative for Connecticut’s third congressional district since 1991.

Chris is an associate beat reporter for Student Life. He is a freshman in Morse studying Ethics, Politics, and Economics.