Live coverage: SJP calls for reinstated encampment on the Main Quad

Protesters assemble on the Main Quad to reestablish an encampment. The SJP UIUC Instagram page posted a call for demonstrators at 1:17 p.m.
Protesters assemble on the Main Quad to reestablish an encampment. The SJP UIUC Instagram page posted a call for demonstrators at 1:17 p.m.
Isaac Pinkus
UPDATE: April 29, 3:52 a.m.

Heavy rain has begun to pour on the encampment, moving most protesters inside of their tents.

Despite thunder and lightning in the distance, the protesters are staying put in the South end of the Main Quad. The storms are currently expected to persist through 9 a.m.

Protesters were equipped with water-proof structures and ponchos, which they distributed to one another as the rain began to fall harder.


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UPDATE: April 29, 2:10 a.m.

In the early hours of Monday morning, there are still no ongoing negotiations between University administration and student leaders.

The encampment has relaxed for the night, as protesters talk in small groups, relax in tents or play catch on the Main Quad. Some passersby have been seen bringing pillows and blankets to the encampment.

Reporters from The Daily Illini will remain active throughout the night and continue to update online as events happen.

*The Daily Illini will update with any and all updates when they happen* 


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The encampment at around midnight on Sunday. Protesters remain on the Main Quad in tents and on the ground.
UPDATE: April 28, 11:41 p.m.

Protesters have distributed blankets, water and food and have entered the tents. 

There are no negotiations happening currently between University administration and the student leaders. 

Our reporters will remain on scene through the night, but will discontinue regular coverage until major updates occur. The live stream will remain active on our Instagram.

*The Daily Illini will update with any and all updates when they happen* 


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The encampment at around midnight on Sunday. Protesters remain on the Main Quad in tents and on the ground.
Protesters hang banners from the front barrier of the Foellinger Auditorium while a protester stands on top waving a flag of Palestine.
UPDATE: April 28, 10:20 p.m.

**This interview has been edited for length and clarity.**

The Daily Illini: Could you give us a little bit of an update about what’s going on right now?

Spokesperson for SJP: Our encampment was going strong. We had negotiators talking to admins about updates regarding our demands of divestment and there were some issues with that. They wanted us to know there are conditions for a meeting with the president and chancellor. It is that we take down our tent, which obviously we did not want to agree to because it was just them taking the only form of leverage we had in this negotiation. And immediately after we disagreed, we respectfully declined the offer. We got a Massmail — it was basically smearing our name, accusing us of being hard to negotiate with and us denying this offer without any context really.

The meeting with the vice chancellor on Monday that we were promised was threatened to be canceled. We’re not sure about updates regarding that. However, we wanted to continue engaging in discourse. The president and Chancellor Jones told the people we were talking to, like our middle man, that they are free to go home and they took that as their opportunity to leave us.

When we vocalize that we need some form of communication with them because our worry is that they were going to send out police officers on us, they basically said you guys just have to stick through it. It just felt like we were left in such a hard situation. We were just blindsided and it felt like they were just leaving us to fend for ourselves. I tried to find out if arrests were going to happen or anything like that — I didn’t get a straight answer. So yeah, we were kind of just left blindsided.

DI: What are the plans for tonight?

Spokesperson for SJP: Our plans for tonight are just to stick it out. We want to keep going strong, we are going strong. We want to encourage community activities. We also want to encourage discourse around this topic of Palestine. We want this to be an educational encampment where the correct knowledge is being put out.

DI: In the statement from the chancellor, it states that you guys cannot have your tents up and you guys cannot be encamping on campus grounds. How will you react to that if in the middle of the night, something happens?

Spokesperson for SJP: We obviously are keeping our guard up 24/7. In terms of them telling us we can’t keep our tents up, we’re keeping them up until we meet our demands. A divestment from Zionist weapon manufacturers and institutions. We think it’s pretty normal to want our school to not invest in the killing of people. And we think it’s bizarre that they care more about us having tents up than where their money is going. I think it’s just disgusting and it shows how evil the administration is regarding this topic.


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Protesters hang banners from the front barrier of the Foellinger Auditorium while a protester stands on top waving a flag of Palestine. (Bianca Olson)
UPDATE: April 28, 10:00 p.m.

The Daily Illini spoke with a student observing the protest named Emily. 


**This interview has been edited for length and clarity.** 

DI: So why are you here?

Emily: We are here just to show our support for Israel to stand against this pro-terrorist protest and to show that we’re here, we’re on campus too. We are Jewish Zionist students, and we are not going to let people intimidate us. We’re not going to back down. We’re not going to let people walk all over us.

DI: This protest has been going on since 1:00 p.m When did you guys get out here?

Emily: I just got here. I was around kind of all day, but I got out here at about 7 p.m., and we’ve been kind of chilling for a while just watching. We had a friend go get us our Israeli flags. 

DI: How do you feel about the current state of the protest compared to the one that was happening on Friday?

Emily: I mean to be fair, this is less intense than it was on Friday. I was also counterprotesting on Friday night, although in the pouring rain. This is at least a little calmer. It’s unfortunate that they were given land on Spurlock and won’t even take what was given to them and they decided to set up this illegal encampment on the quad. 

DI: The students at the protest were saying earlier that the Massmail sent out by Chancellor Robert Jones felt very targeted toward them. How do you feel about that?

Emily: Personally? I think that’s ridiculous. I don’t always love what Chancellor Jones does either, but I think it was a pretty neutral message. I definitely believed him when he said they refused. They were in their speech earlier — we were listening — contradicting themselves over and over again. And it didn’t make any sense really. I don’t know, they’re allowed to say what they want, but it becomes more dangerous when facts don’t matter to them. 

DI: In the statement sent out by the chancellor, it said that any student that fought back or disagreed would potentially be suspended from the University. How do you feel about that?

Emily: I believe he said if they did illegal action. So, completely makes sense. If you break the law you don’t get certain privileges. 


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UPDATE: April 28, 8:45 p.m.

After a speech given by a representative of the encampment about the organizers’ disappointments with Chancellor Robert Jones’ Massmail, protesters began creating a barricade around the tents for the first time in hours.

No police presence is near the encampment at this moment.


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UPDATE: April 28, 8:38 p.m.

Following the Massmail sent by Chancellor Robert Jones, an organizer of the encampment addressed the crowd of attendees.

According to the organizer, the organizers of the encampment were negotiating with University administration to divest in companies they said funded the war in Gaza.

The organizer claimed that University administrations offered them a meeting to negotiate, but only if protesters took down the tents and structure.

“President Killeen and I offered to meet directly with representatives of the group this evening to discuss their questions and concerns if they would remove the tents and structure,” Jones stated.

The organizer stated that the message sent from the University about the details of the meeting was a lie.

The organizer said they were not leaving the encampment.


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Jewish protesters hold a passover seder in the middle of the encampment zone on the Main Quad.
Jewish protesters hold a passover seder in the middle of the encampment zone on the Main Quad. (Anh-khoi Pham)
UPDATE: April 28, 8:35 p.m.

Amongst the unrest, Jews for Palestine UIUC have set up a Seder meal— a symbolic assortment of foods traditionally eaten on the first or second night of the Jewish holiday, Passover. 

The holiday started on April 22 and ends after nightfall on April 30.

The organization cited the meal’s significance as reasoning for the ceremony.

“Passover is about solidarity with oppressed people everywhere,” said the Jews for Palestine UIUC Instagram in a statement to The Daily Illini.

Members’ demands are in congruence with the messages of fellow protesters.

“We are here to demand the University divest from Zionist weapon manufacturers and institutions, disclose all financial assets, and grant amnesty to all student protesters,” they stated.

Anh-khoi Pham

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UPDATE: April 28, 8:27 p.m.

Chancellor Robert Jones sent out a Massmail at 8:22 p.m. regarding the reinstated encampment taking place on the Main Quad.

Similar to Friday’s Massmail, Jones stated that the tents and other structures are a violation of University policy, and that “violations of our rules or of state or local laws are subject to consequences including arrest, and for university students, interim suspension.”

The chancellor ended the Massmail explaining that demonstrators who comply with university policies and state and federal laws are allowed to protest as long as they wish.

“University classes and activities are expected to continue as usual tomorrow,” Jones said.


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UPDATE: April 28, 7:04 p.m.

In an Instagram statement regarding Friday’s protest from Students for Justice in Palestine, within the first hour of the previous encampment, the University administration and UIPD warned protesters not to bring the tents. Tents are not allowed because they violate University policy that forbids the presence of structures during a demonstration.

According to SJP, they began to do so, but the authorities were dissatisfied with the rate the protestors were dismantling the structures. As a protester attempted to engage in a respectful exchange with the authorities, an officer responded saying raising questions was not within their protected First Amendment rights. 

“It was clear that the course of action that followed was made before any conversation with protestors,” wrote SJP.

Police pushed through the encampment tents, those of which housed protestors’ personal items. In the process of this, a protester was arrested.

Due to the heavy rain, protests began rebuilding the tents for their belongings. This led to police pushing through the encampment again, causing protestors to form a human chain linking arms to prevent the encampment from being dismantled again. As a result, four other police departments outside of the Urbana Police Department were called for reinforcements, referred to SJP as an “inflation.”

“The conditions of the stand-off were inhumane,” stated SJP, as a result of restricted access to food and water, the threat of pepper spray, tasers, batons and police in riot gear with loaded weapons. The poor weather caused the clothing and belongings of protestors to become soaking wet.

SJP claims the police stand-off was with the intent of “the poor conditions causing our support to waver, yet we remained strong.” 

At 7:16 p.m., SJP and the University administration began negotiating, with SJP representatives “realizing this was merely a facade” to maintain appearances by Chancellor Jones and President Killeen. 

The protestors were faced with an ultimatum: “Make a decision or face mass arrest.” This was in reference to choosing to dismantle the encampment or having the police do so. According to SJP, protest representatives were only given five minutes before police were allowed to begin arrests, causing the leadership to prioritize protestor safety by moving the encampment to Spurlock Museum. 

However, the previously agreed-upon location of the Spurlock Museum was changed to the south side of the Main Quad in front of Foellinger Auditorium.

In this statement, SJP restated their demands: 

“Divest from Zionist weapon manufacturers and institutions; Disclose all financial assets, including investments, endowments, and other holdings; Seize all ties with genocidal corporations; Grant amnesty to all student protestors.”


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Tents begin to get assembled on the Main Quad. Protesters were informed that they are within their rights to protest on the Main Quad, however structures are not allowed to be erected.
UPDATE: April 28, 5:52 p.m.

**This interview has been edited for length and clarity.** 


The Daily Illini: You guys have been out here for a few hours. Is there a reason why the tents are coming up now?

Spokesperson for SJP: Yeah, so we were avoiding police confrontation. We wanted to put up our tents. We’re making a statement. We don’t want to leave until divestment. The admins can try to, you know, trick us into bogus deals but we’re not stupid. We know what they’re doing. So, we decided to come back out today, come back even stronger with more resources. The decision of us putting the tents up a little later was just because we were waiting out depletions in some sense. We felt like their presence was near. We waited it out until we had the most people while, you know, a good ratio of the people while also knowing that the police were not there.

DI: What difference do the tents typically make?

Spokesperson for SJP: The encampment is meant to be like a sit-in to some extent. So we don’t leave. We sleep. There also is a representation of the genocide in Gaza right now. They’ve been moved to this new refugee camp called Rafah, and they’re all evacuated from their homes because their homes were either bombed or they were displaced. And now over, I don’t know the exact number, but hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are forced to live in tents in Rafah. It’s been like this for the past countless months, and they can’t leave, so we want to show our solidarity with them.

DI: Vice Chancellor Jim Hintz has been coming around with the megaphone, telling protesters that it’s fine for them to protest. But when they set up tents, that’s when it does violate policy. Do you have a response to that, and have there been negotiations with the administration? 

Spokesperson for SJP: Yeah. So there’s been some negotiations, but what I will say is that the place that we were told to relocate, to our condition, was that there was zero police presence. When we arrived there today, we noticed that there was a police surveillance camera that also grabbed information off of your phones. When we tried to have a conversation with Jim Hintz about it, he acted like he didn’t know what was going on. We know that the administration does not have our safety in mind or they don’t care about what we want. 

DI: How long do you anticipate this encampment lasting?

Spokesperson for SJP: We’re not leaving again. We’re not leaving until the administration meets our demands. They can keep on taking away their tents, they can do whatever they want. We’re gonna come back stronger every single time. We’re bringing more tents, and we’re not leaving until we get a divestment.


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Tents begin to get assembled on the Main Quad. Protesters were informed that they are within their rights to protest on the Main Quad, however structures are not allowed to be erected. (Anh-khoi Pham)
UPDATE: April 28, 3:47 p.m.

The Daily Illini spoke with a University student taking graduation pictures at Foellinger Auditorium during the protest.

DI: We noticed that you were taking pictures in the background. There was a whole protest going on. Did that ruin any of your previous plans for pictures or did you just still continue with your grad pictures as usual?

Student: I would just continue with my pictures.

DI: And then do you plan to take pictures with that in the background or are you trying to, you know, just get the Union in the background?

Student: I just wanted them in the background too. I mean, it’s historical stuff. I think it is important. It’s just they have their own values, and I have my own values. I still support them.


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UPDATE: April 28, 3:40 p.m.

State Rep. Carol Ammons is currently on the Main Quad and has a message for the University administration. Ammons was seen carrying a sign reading “Not in my name: Rep. Nikki Budzinkski STOP THE Genocide.”

“So, you know, one of the things I’ve just done is made a call to (President Killeen) and asked him to send a message here,” Ammons said. “I reached out to (Chancellor Jones) as well that peaceful protest is the First Amendment right of all the students. They should not in any way, shape or form be arrested for peaceful protests on this campus.”


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Students take graduation photos as the protesters assemble on the Main Quad in the background.
Students take graduation photos as the protesters assemble on the Main Quad in the background. (Alyssa Shih)
UPDATE: April 28, 3:15 p.m.

The Main Quad has students taking graduation photos while protesters are setting up. Although the protests are highlighted everywhere, campus life is still bustling despite the rise in activity from the protest groups.


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Protesters assemble with resources for an encampment. Tents, tarps and pillows are present but none have been assembled.
UPDATE: April 28, 2:52 p.m.

**This has been edited for clarity.**


The Daily Illini: Why did nothing happen yesterday and why today?

Protestor: Yesterday, the admin immediately deployed all forms of police. They sent UIPD, Champaign County, Urbana, Mohamet and Parkland College police here. They forced Facilities & Services to remove all our stuff even when they didn’t want to, they did not feel comfortable, and they thought we were allowed to be there. Campus Faculty Association released a statement, they said they fully condemned the University’s actions of trying to remove us. We have a lot of faculty here to support us — they felt like what the police did was so disgusting over some tents.

Protesters wear keffiyeh and Palestine jackets as they lay out resources. (Anika Khandavalli)

DI: Are you referring to yesterday at Spurlock or Friday at Alma Mater?

Protestor: On Friday, at Alma Mater. No one went to Spurlock.

DI: Why is that? Do you know?

Protestor: The University Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine will be putting out a statement with a lot more detail which will give you a lot more detail as to why we are sticking around here.

DI: You guys are meeting with the administration tomorrow at 5 p.m.?

Protestor: Some student organizers are meeting tomorrow to talk about divestment. I don’t know if you guys know this, but this University puts hundreds of millions of dollars into murdering children. They use our tuition money and they lie about it, and when we ask them and confront them, “Why are you funding this genocide? Why are you funding an illegal occupation?” These settlers tell us, “No, we are not in control of it. The University of Illinois Foundation is,” and “No, BOT is.” The BOT is comprised of admin Chancellor Robert Jones and President Tim Killeen. They’re just so wishy-washy, so back-and-forth, and we’re tired of it.

It has been almost eight months of an ongoing genocide that has been broadcasted in 4k. There is nothing that the admin can say, or any Zionist can say, that shows that the University shouldn’t stop funding this genocide. It’s completely disgusting and we are fed up with it.

DI: How long do you plan on staying out today?

Protestor: As long as we need to.

DI: Is there a reason behind the location change from Alma Mater to the Main Quad?

Protestor: Yes, for expansion. If we need to expand, it is much safer to be here. Usually, they threaten us with mass arrests and tear gassing, so we are hoping this area will keep us protesters safe because, clearly, the admin does not care about us. It was Tim Killeen who was pushing to mass arrest us right away. We have no support from the admin, they can lie and say that they care about our students, but police were assaulting other student protesters. We have it on video, we care about one another. I hope it shows you that there are a lot of messed up issues within UIPD, they need to be defunded. Our main point is divestment and to keep all eyes on Gaza because Israel is trying to invade. Over a million people have been displaced, like 1.3 million displaced Palestinians, and we need to protect them.

DI: There’s a charter bus out there, did people bus in?

Protestor: Chicago allies, many came out. Minimum of 50, possibly more. There are a lot of people mobilizing, like ISU. The bigger the crowd, the safer we are.

DI: On Friday, the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Jim Hintz, negotiated with some protestors. Could you give us insight on that?

Protestor: It was not a negotiation, it was more of a, “You have to either leave and disperse, or we will mass arrest everyone and spray tear gas.” As negotiators, we wanted to do what we felt was most safe for all the protestors, which was to disperse and reconvene with a stronger newer plan. So yeah, they can say we agreed it was negotiations we have countless times when admin has gone back on their word when they have blatantly lied to us. They sent out three Massmails about the Palestinians, about the genocide — they tell us they’re pointless, they’re useless, it doesn’t matter. I would like to add that during the negotiations, the chancellor sent out a Massmail, purposely endangering the students. So it was not a negotiation. It was more like them commanding us to do stuff. It was pouring heavy rain. We still have 100 to 200 people out there ready to stand for this.

This has been going on for far too long. It’s disgusting. We are all complicit. We need to speak up right now. If not now, then when? I think it’s very important for you to realize Israel is getting away with this. What are they going to do next? The whole world is at risk right now. If designers stay, if they are allowed to do what they have done to the Palestinians, especially in Gaza for the past eight months, and no one has said anything, no one has lifted a finger, what are they going to do to the rest of the world? Who’s going to stop them?

DI: We did speak with the vice president for Illini Students Supporting Israel, and also the rabbi. One of the things they mentioned was the chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” which they believe to be anti-Semitic. Could you speak on that?

Protestor: The chant has been used for the past 75 years. It means from the Dead Sea to the river, Palestine will be free. This means Palestinians can rightfully return to their homes, can walk freely through Palestine without checkpoints, they aren’t detained for the dumbest things that aren’t shown in broad daylight. They aren’t kidnapped, and their homes aren’t raided. There allowed to go pray at the mosque without getting beaten.

I’m Palestinian, my grandparents were kicked out in 1948 during the catastrophe, and I have not been able to return. It is because of the of the laws that Israel has. And even if you have done things properly, they still can detain you and prevent you from entering Palestine. Just the freedom of people being able to freely move throughout their own homelands is not anti-Semitic. Recently, they have been trying to spew anti-Semitism because people have realized that the anti-Semitism argument is so false. There are so many Jews here, we are going to hold Shabbat prayer here today. There are so many Jews in support of Palestine and a free Palestine. 

DI: Do you know what time the Shabbat prayer will be held here?

Protestor: I’m not 100% sure, there is a committee that is organizing all the plans and agenda for the day.

DI: Do you plan on putting up structures once again, like in front of Alma Mater, or are you going to stay away from that? 

Protestor: That is to be determined.


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Protesters assemble with resources for an encampment. Tents, tarps and pillows are present but none have been assembled. (Alyssa Shih)
UPDATE: April 28, 2:38 p.m.

**This article has been edited for length and clarity.**


The Daily Illini: How do you feel about what’s going on today? 

Hannah Glass: It’s really disturbing, especially being a Jewish student on campus. This is really dangerous, and I would not consider it peaceful, considering they’re chanting for the annihilation of the Jewish state and comparing the IDF and the C-U police department to the KKK.

DI: How do you see this being different from what was going on Friday or do you think it’s the same situation here?

Glass: I think as of now it seems to be a little bit more peaceful but I assume with to come it’s going to, you know, probably progress.

DI: Do you have any connecting feelings with the students that are here today?

Glass: I wouldn’t say I have any connecting feelings. I think the protesters are all just a little bit confused because, as someone who’s pro-Israel, I am pro-Palenstinian life, and I think there can be a two-state solution. I’m a proud Zionist, but I also think that the Palestinians deserve a state without the expense of the lives of Jews and the destruction of the state of Israel. 

DI: How do you feel that this is affecting the campus right now?

Glass: I think it is scary for Jewish kids to come out of their dorms and it’s a Sunday. So it’s a popular day to go to the library and do homework, which they’re going to disturb obviously, and I think this shelters a lot of people, especially during the holiday of Passover.


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Demonstrators pray on the main quad.
Demonstrators pray on the main quad. (Anh-khoi Pham)
UPDATE: April 28, 2:25 p.m.

Lincoln Hall is currently closed and locked up, and the Alma Mater and Main Quad cams are still down.

Attendees are currently praying together. Legal observers, part of the National Lawyers Guild, are also present at the scene.


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Protesters put on Keffiyeh to block their faces during the demonstration.
UPDATE: April 28, 1:53 p.m.

The Daily Illini: Can you tell me what’s going on here? 

Protester: We’ve come to reinstill our encampment today, but on the Main Quad to show admin that we will not rest. We will not be pushed all the way to Spurlock, which is essentially off campus.

DI: On Friday, you guys had announced that you would be starting the protest again Saturday morning. Why was it pushed to today?

Protester: We needed time to, first of all, prepare because, obviously, this takes a lot of preparing, and we wanted to ensure the safety of our protesters as well. 

DI: So, what’s the hopeful goal for today? What do you want the outcome to be? 

Protester: I mean, our goal is to push the school to divest at the end of the day. So, our goal for today is to pressure the University and set up camp. 

DI: How many people do you think are going to be showing up today?

Protester: I think that we will be able to mobilize around 400 people. 


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Protesters put on Keffiyeh to block their faces during the demonstration. (Anh-khoi Pham)
UPDATE: April 28, 1:50 p.m.

After not protesting on Saturday, pro-Palestinian students and community members are taking to the Main Quad to continue their presence. 

Attendees are coming in with medical equipment, signs and other encampment gear. Protesters also have plywood and other shield material with them. 

Some attendees came on a charter bus from Chicago and Illinois State University. There are currently roughly 400 protesters expected at today’s event. 

Attendees are praying throughout the Main Quad.

UIPD presence is at the scene, but because there are no current encampments set up, police have no issue with the showing.


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UPDATE: April 28, 1:12 p.m.

The official Instagram page of the UIUC Chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine posted a graphic on Instagram at 1:07 p.m. calling all protesters to the Main Quad. 

The caption of the post states “we need all to mobilize to the Main Quad near Foellinger immediately!!” 

Demonstrators arrive to the Main Quad in droves with supplies for the encampment. (Isaac Pinkus)



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Isaac Pinkus
Isaac Pinkus, Assistant Photo Editor
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