Thursday, May 2, 2013

VIDEO: From Jim Crow to Israeli Apartheid // African American Solidarity with Palestine

African-Americans and Palestinians have good reason to join their struggles together in solidarity.

Featured Speakers: Aaron Dixon, Jesse Hagopian, and Gerald Lenoir

The people of Palestine live daily under the longest continual occupation in the world today. From racist apartheid laws that give Palestinians living in Israel the worst schools, homes, social services, and restrict their free speech, to the settler encroachment on the West Bank, to the blockade on Gaza that has turned it into what many commentators have called an open air prison, Palestinians face brutal oppression from the Israeli government, made possible by funding from the United States.

The U.S. itself has a long legacy of racism, from slavery to Jim Crow segregation to mass incarceration today--and a long legacy of Black Americans resisting that oppression and making connections with Palestinians struggling for justice.

Interfaith Peace Builders is an organization that has long been dedicated to actively promoting civil, political and human rights in Palestine and has recently begun sponsoring African Heritage Delegations to Palestine. The African Heritage Delegation builds upon existing efforts within the African Heritage communities and will strengthen work focusing on Apartheid in Israel, justice in Palestine, and the growth of boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns nationally. In a 2007 "Letter to Black America on Palestinian Rights" over 40 African-American activists urged:

It is time for our people to once again demand that the silence be broken on the injustices faced by the Palestinian people resulting from the Israeli occupation.

The second African Heritage Delegation is currently in Palestine meeting African Palestinians, meeting founders of the Israeli Black Panther Party, exchanging stories with Palestinian civil society organizations, and trading lessons with activists in the West Bank. The first African Heritage Delegation traveled there in July 2011 (click here to read about that trip).

Join us for a discussion of the intersection of Palestinian and African-American struggles with returning African Heritage Delegation members:

Aaron Dixon:

Aaron Dixon is the founder of the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party--recently chronicled in his memoir My People Are Rising (Haymarket Books)--and is currently in Palestine as part of the second African Heritage Delegation. Aaron was the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate in 2006 running on a platform of, "Out of war and into our communities." Aaron currently serves as the executive director of Central House, a homeless shelter for youth. Aaron will be just back from Palestine to share the lessons of his experience in person.

Gerald Lenoir:

Gerald Lenoir has been a leader in progressive social movements for over 30 years. He is currently the Director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) and founding member and trip leader of the African Heritage Delegation to Palestine. Lenior is currently a board member of the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and is the former executive director of the Black Coalition on AIDS in San Francisco and co-founder/board chair of the HIV Education and Prevention Project of Alameda County in Oakland, Calif. He was a member of the editorial board of War Times, an anti-Iraq War newspaper and a long time leader in the racial justice and anti-apartheid movements in the United States. He has also served as a strategic planning consultant for racial justice, immigrant rights, HIV/AIDS and health-related organizations, and public health departments.

Jesse Hagopian:

Jesse Hagopian is a public high school teacher in Seattle and a founding member of Social Equality Educators (SEE). He is a contributing author to the recently published books, Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation and 101 Changemakers (Haymarket Books). He serves on the Board of Directors of Maha-Lilo—"Many Hands, Light Load"—a Haiti solidarity organization, and traveled with the African Heritage delegation to Palestine in 2011.

Sponsored by: SUPER UW (Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights), ASA (African Student Association) and UW ISO (International Socialist Organization)

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