Representatives at the forefront of the movements for Black lives and racial justice have taken a historic trip to Palestine this week to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation.
Black journalists, artists and organizers representing Ferguson, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100), and more have joined the Dream Defenders for a 10-day trip to the occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel.
The trip comes after a year of highly-publicized repression in Ferguson, the Gaza Strip, and West Bank including East Jerusalem, as well as solidarity between these places.
Ahmad Abuznaid, Dream Defenders’ legal and policy director and a co-organizer of the delegation, said that the goal of the trip was to make connections.
“The goals were primarily to allow for the group members to experience and see first hand the occupation, ethnic cleansing and brutality Israel has levied against Palestinians, but also to build real relationships with those on the ground leading the fight for liberation,” wrote Abuznaid. “In the spirit of Malcolm X, Angela Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many others, we thought the connections between the African American leadership of the movement in the US and those on the ground in Palestine needed to be reestablished and fortified.”
Abuznaid said the trip represented a chance to bring the power of Black organizing to Palestine.
“As a Palestinian who has learned a great deal about struggle, movement, militancy and liberation from African Americans in the US, I dreamt of the day where I could bring that power back to my people in Palestine. This trip is a part of that process.”
Over the past week, the delegation has met with refugees, Afro-Palestinians, a family that was kicked out of their house by settlers in East Jerusalem, and organizations representing Palestinian political prisoners, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).
Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors said apartheid is what immediately struck her about what she saw on the ground.