Resist the Muslim Ban, DAPL & deportations.
Fight the Wall from Palestine to Mexico.
Less than 1 month into the Trump administration…
On Friday, February 3rd, Seattle Federal judge James Robart temporarily blocked Trump’s Executive Order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the US through a ruling on the basis of damage to Washington State and its residents. Driven by xenophobia, Islamaphobia and racism, the Muslim Ban was an unprecedented denial of entry to migrants and refugees that led to more than 60,000 revoked visas in the less than two weeks since it was issued. The halt on the Executive Order is at least a brief relief for visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The U.S. has played a central role in making countries like Syria and Yemen unlivable for a vast number of the population.
While Judge Rodard’s stay plays out in the court system and was upheld by a federal appeals panel on February 9th, it is clear that popular and public presence, actions and organizing is powerful. Judge Robart’s decision came one week after a large rally against the Muslim Ban at the SEA-TAC airport along with similar demonstrations around the country that are continuing. Public protest and presence contributed to the environment in which the stay could be issued and on behalf of Washington State residents. Sustained civil disobedience over the coming months and throughout the U.S. will be key.
For those of us in the U.S. and involved in organizing our communities to achieve social justice, the slew of Executive Orders issued by Trump in the first days of his term along with absurd cabinet confirmations, an evident campaign of mass deportations and further announcements this week feel like the inauguration of an Orwelian world.
From the Nakba to the Intifada, Palestinians have a long and varied tradition of resistance, one that we can draw lessons from for the fight that is ahead in the U.S., not just in these coming months and years of Trump’s term, but into the administrations to follow. We need a strong grassroots community-based civil society in order to create lasting fundamental social change in this country whether under an Obama or a Trump. In building on the momentum generated early and planning for the long run strategically, we can draw from the decades-long and inspiring history of resistance by the Palestinian people as well as the role of solidarity that Rachel Corrie exemplified.
The Palestinian resistance to oppression and displacement is long and varied. A new digital pedagogical resource on Palestinian revolutionary culture from the 1950s through the 1970s provides photos, videos, oral histories and a 12-week syllabus about the intellectual thought, organizational methods and key events of that history. High points from the Palestinian history of resistance provide inspiration and guidance, such as the massive rally of Land Day on March 30th, 1976 challenging the confiscation of Palestinian land by the community of Palestinian citizens of Israel. In another example, the massively popular and grassroots participation in the first Intifada (1987-1993) shows that sustained and inclusive civil disobedience can bring all-powerful seeming forces to a standstill. It is especially pertinent to emphasize the intersectional struggles and comparative lessons in 2017 as the Occupation enters its 50th year.
[Image from Land Day 1976 via “The Palestinian Revolution” website]
Rachel was motivated by a strong moral compass and responsibility towards realizing justice. January 27th, 2003 was the first day she entered the Gaza Strip where she worked with local communities like that of the pharmacist Samir Nasrallah and his family. Rachel was killed by Israeli soldiers on March 16, 2003 while putting her body between the bulldozer and the Nasrallah family home. Her commitment was underwritten by a philosophy of solidarity that was made up of the small everyday acts of support and resistance, a philosophy we can all work to develop in our practice of solidarity.
The time has come for mobilizing, organizing and resisting. This is not only crucial for this moment when the U.S. is headed by an openly xenophobic president, but for future administrations, too, whether Democrats or Republicans. From the grassroots, what we are seeing is an inauguration of communities of struggle that will be necessary for creating the just world we require.
As Rachel wrote in January 2003 when she was on her way to Rafah, Gaza:
“This realization that I will live my life in this world where I have privileges.
I can’t cool boiling waters in Russia. I can’t be Picasso. I can’t be Jesus. I can’t save the planet single-handedly.
I can wash dishes.”
In this time, it is important to keep in mind that sustaining community organizing is based on the small acts like ‘washing dishes’ as well as showing up for multiple intersecting struggles.
For the fight ahead, see some of the following resources for ideas on the many ways to be involved wherever you are located:
2. #NoDAPL Week of ActionFebruary 12-17th. There are many ways to respond to the call for global solidarity form the indigenous leadership at Standing Rock.
3. Click here for a comprehensive #MuslimBan resource guide created by the Palestinian Youth Movement among others.
No Child Behind Bars:
Living Resistance from US to Palestine
Tuesday, January 24th
University Congregational United Church of Christ
4515 16th Ave. N.E., Seattle
Amanda Weatherspoon is a Unitarian Universalist (UU) minister with a focus in Africana Studies and Womanist Theology. She serves a congregation in Oakland, California, where her ministry is centered on collective liberation and cross-movement solidarity between oppressed peoples. She is passionately involved in collective organizing towards Black liberation. Having traveled to Palestine in 2015, Weatherspoon provides a strong foundational knowledge of the geopolitical terrain of Occupied Palestine, liberation movements in the United States, and the collective threads between them.
Nadya Tannous, a writer and organizer in the Bay Area, has researched the detention of Palestinian minors since 2013 and will provide additional insight into the realities Palestinian minors face within the Israeli detention system.
This national tour is sponsored by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) and is supported by a diverse coalition of national and local cosponsors, including Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Defence for Children International (DCI), Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism (BLUU), Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME), Addameer,Tree of Life Educational Fund and Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB).
The Seattle event is sponsored by the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice and by Huda Giddens of Kairos Puget Sound Coalition.
The Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural in Olympia, Washington.
Late this year, we were privileged to spend several weeks in Palestine/Israel with an Interfaith Peace-Builders’ delegation and reconnecting with friends in the region. At 3:00 a.m. on November 9th, we woke in our East Jerusalem hotel to CNN’s U.S. election results. We are still recovering. During moments like these when we feel the uncertainty of our political trajectory most acutely, it is helpful to name those places where we find strength, encouragement, and energy.
One of those is with the men, women, children, and families we met during this trip who experience the impact of settler colonialism and occupation every moment of their lives, yet continue to creatively resist. People like…
…Daoud at the Tent of Nations who, surrounded by five Israeli settlements, “refuses to be enemies,” continues with his family to fight in Israeli courts to retain their West Bank Area C farmland, and with international volunteers has replanted thousands of trees to replace those destroyed by the Israeli military.
…Nomika, a Jewish resident of Sderot, Israel, and founder of Other Voice (Israeli citizens who have raised a voice of conscience against Israeli policies in the neighboring Gaza Strip). Nomika says, “I live in a country that has made war a way of life.” Her deepest concern is how to make the young generation of Jewish Israelis care and feel responsibility.
…Omar, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who walked with us through what remains from 1948 of the Palestinian village of Lifta. With Jewish-Israeli colleagues in the organization Zochrot (“remembering” in Hebrew), Omar brings the Nakba to the fore and explores possibilities for right of return for Palestinians and a better life for all.
We are energized, too, by those in our own and neighboring communities who are stepping up:
…Activists who have stood in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux and their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline.
…The City of Portland’s Human Rights Commission, Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) Committee, and community members whom we joined on November 30th as they bravely opposed city investment in corporations that violate its SRI policy (including Caterpillar, Inc.).
…Students, faculty, and community members in Abbotsford, British Columbia, who educate their neighbors about Palestine through film and lecture events, and invited our family’s story as the keynote for a November 26th one-day conference.
Most of all, we garner strength, encouragement, and energy for the work we do, from YOU – our friends and supporters from near and far. Your interest in Rachel Corrie Foundation (RCF) efforts, your responses to our action alerts and requests, the caring messages and good ideas you send, your generous financial support that makes it all possible, and the movement work you are doing in your own communities – these are the daily boosts you provide that keep all of us at RCF believing! You are part of the Rachel Corrie Foundation community and we depend upon you for the work we do together.
Our committed and caring board and staff continue to listen, to learn and grow, and to act. We look forward to sharing major plans and structural changes for 2017 that will refine and strengthen RCF programs and projects and take significant steps toward RCF sustainability – ensuring that all our voices for peace with justice in the Middle East and universal human rights endure and remain strong.
As 2016 draws to a close, we ask for your financial support during this giving time and for your continued partnership. Thank you for your help, in all the forms it takes. Thank you, too, for honoring our daughter Rachel’s commitment and the values by which she tried to live – that we strive to emulate.
With appreciation and anticipation,
January 19 to February 11, 2017
Harlequin Productions, 202 4th Avenue East in downtown Olympia, is our premier local theater company. We are delighted that they have chosen to bring the first local production of My Name is Rachel Corrie to our community! The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice was selected for Harlequin’s Community Partnership Program 2017. We are excited to connect with local schools, educators, and student groups to extend an offer of free tickets for the final dress rehearsal performance of the play My Name is Rachel Corrie on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 (8 pm).
Rachel Corrie, a graduate of Capital High School and student at The Evergreen State College, was a 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli-militarized bulldozer on 16 March 2003, while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition. Since her killing, an enormous number of solidarity activities have been carried out in her name around the world.
The play My Name is Rachel Corrie is told almost exclusively through the words from Rachel’s actual journals and writing from the Gaza Strip. It affords students a unique opportunity to explore the impact that autobiographical writing and journaling can have, through the perspective of a local person whose actions and writings made headlines around the world.
Our hope is that by offering free tickets to student audiences, we can promote and encourage local performing arts and arts education, and provide an opportunity to spur further discussion of Rachel’s story, social justice themes, and connect with youth. Read more about the play on our website.
My Name is Rachel Corrie was crafted from Rachel’s writing by actor Alan Rickman and Guardian editor Kathryn Viner. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2005, has subsequently been translated into many languages, and continues to be performed throughout the United States and around the world.
Harlequin Productions will be running the show from January 19th to February 11th at their theater in Olympia. For tickets, visit Harlequin Productions. Also, see The Olympian’s coverage: “The show is based on Corrie’s diaries and emails she wrote while in Palestine, where she worked to create a sister-city relationship between Olympia and Rafah and to support Palestinians whose homes were being demolished.”
* Harlequin Productions is solely responsible for this production of My Name is Rachel Corrie. All proceeds go directly to the theater.
How to request tickets for Wednesday, January 18 (8 pm), 2017 final dress rehearsal:
Due to the expected high demand for these tickets, we request that interested parties submit a brief, emailed request with (1) your name, school, contact information, and class/academic program/student group represented, (2) the number of tickets desired, and (3) a description of how the play will complement current or planned educational curriculum, and/or student group activities. RCF is committed to serving as a current and continuing resource for facilitating classroom experiences related to My Name is Rachel Corrie, and providing related curriculum relevant to educators and student groups. Please indicate in your request if this is an option in which you are interested.
Please submit requests as soon as possible, and no later than Wednesday, January 11, 2017, to email@example.com with “My Name is Rachel Corrie Request” in the subject line. If you have questions, feel free to contact RCF via email or phone at (360-754-3998).
Because these tickets are limited and we want to fill the house for Harlequin January 18th, priority will be given to requests that indicate intention of integrating the play into class curriculum or organization activities, and to those that indicate ability to facilitate student attendance at the performance.
We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at the theater!