From Ferguson to Palestine, the Struggle for Freedom Continues
By Queen Arsem-O'Malley
“We came here to Palestine to stand in love and revolutionary struggle with our brothers and sisters,” journalist and scholar Marc Lamont Hill declared to kick off a solidarity demonstration in Nazareth last week.
Hill was one in a coalition of young freedom fighters from organizations including the Dream Defenders, New York Justice League, #BlackLivesMatter, Black Youth Project 100, and Ferguson/Hands Up United who traveled to Palestine this month for a 10-day visit to meet and support Palestinians working to resist Israeli occupation.
The human capacity for survival and resilience is truly amazing and devastating. From Haiti to Palestine the things I've witnessed...— Charlene Carruthers (@CharleneCac) January 9, 2015
Thank you, Palestine. For everything. Fight! Fight! Viva, Viva, Palestina! pic.twitter.com/u3bOkiqIry— Fed Up Nephew (@Awkward_Duck) January 11, 2015
Parallels between the struggles of Palestinians and Black Americans has been a topic raised in demonstrations around the world, including connections made between policing styles used to suppress protests and the weapons deployed against the protestors.
Solidarity between the two struggles also has a long history: Abuznaid cited the legacies of Malcolm X and Angela Davis in a piece about the trip in Ebony. And just two months ago, delegates at #SquadUp14, the Dream Defenders conference, unanimously voted to support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement.
The American coalition experienced Israeli apartheid firsthand, met displaced families, visited a refugee camp, and accompanied Dream Defenders' Legal & Policy Director, Ahmad Abuznaid, as he crossed an Israeli Checkpoint in order to visit his birthplace of Jerusalem.
The group decided to hold a solidarity demonstration in Nazareth, which is documented in the video below. Participants wore both keffiyahs and hoodies, chanted in English and Arabic, and declared their solidarity with each other.
Follow #DDPalestine to read more about this historic trip and participants' reflections.
From the video description: This demonstration was coordinated by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, and features “Ella’s Song” by Sweet Honey in the Rock, sung by Charlene Carruthers, National Director of the Black Youth Project 100 and Dream Defenders’ Executive Director Phillip Agnew; poet, artist, and New York Justice League member, Aja Monet; rapper and Ferguson/Hands Up United organizer Tef Poe, and Ferguson/ Hands Up United organizer, Tara Thompson. Dream Defenders Ciara Taylor, Steven Pargett, Sherika Shaw, and Ahmad Abuznaid, journalist Marc Lamont Hill, New York Justice League organizers Cherrell Brown and Carmen Perez, and Maytha Alhassen, a University of Southern California Doctoral Candidate, are seen preforming the debke, a traditional Palestinian folk dance.