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Dear Black America, A Call-to-Action for Palestine
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Dear Black America, A Call-to-Action for Palestine

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As we navigate our lives in the United States, carrying the weight of our history and the ongoing struggle for justice and equality, there emerges a parallel narrative across the globe that calls for our attention and solidarity. The situation in Palestine, especially the tragic escalation since October 7, 2023, mirrors the systemic oppression and violence that we, as Black Americans, know all too well. This letter is a call to action, an urge to look beyond our immediate surroundings, and a plea to recognize the interconnectedness of our struggles with those of the Palestinian people.

The Intensified Crisis in Palestine

On October 7, 2023, a devastating conflict escalated in Palestine, which to date has led to the deaths of over 30,000 Palestinians and the forced displacement of more than a million citizens. This crisis, characterized by mass bombings, denial of essential resources, and threats of further violence, is not just a distant news story; it’s a glaring example of human rights violations that demand our attention and action. In a chilling development, Israel, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has enacted a blockade, preventing desperately needed food, water, and medical supplies from reaching the people of Gaza. Children are dying of malnutrition while at the Egypt-Rafah border, trucks laden with aid are turned away. Instead of compelling Israel to permit these trucks through, the US and Jordan have resorted to airdrops of meals—leaving most without aid due to the inefficacy of such methods.

Our Shared History of Struggle

The parallels between our fight and that of the Palestinian people are profound. Like us, they face a system designed to marginalize and oppress, rooted in a history of dispossession and disenfranchisement. Our shared histories of slavery, colonization, and the fight for civil rights and recognition provide a common ground to build solidarity.

Historically, Black Americans have recognized this connection. Figures like Ralph Bunche, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and groups such as the Black Panther Party and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee have all expressed solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, drawing parallels between the systemic oppression faced by both communities. MLK himself, advocated for peace and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians, recognizing the necessity of returning conquered lands for true peace; Malcolm X identified with the dispossession and colonial occupation faced by Palestinians after his travels to Mecca; and The Black Panther Party, along with other organizations such as the League of Revolutionary Black Workers and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, explicitly supported Palestinian liberation, drawing connections between anti-colonial struggles. These historical moments of solidarity are crucial reminders that our fight against injustice is global and that our liberation is tied to the liberation of oppressed peoples everywhere.

This solidarity has been reciprocated, with Palestinians standing with us during pivotal moments in our history, from Angela Davis’s incarceration to the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, where the images of George Floyd and Palestinian flags stood as symbols of our interconnected struggles.

Why This Matters to Us

As descendants of slaves, forcibly removed from our homeland and subjected to centuries of systemic racism, we understand the pain of displacement, erasure, and dehumanization. The Palestinian struggle against occupation, colonization, and apartheid reflects our fight for dignity, justice, and self-determination. It is a reminder that our liberation is bound to the liberation of oppressed people everywhere. The injustices we fight against—racism, colonialism, and the denial of basic human rights—are not confined by geography.

Poet, essayist, librarian, Black feminist, and equal rights activist Audre Lorde powerfully drew the connection between Black American and Palestinian liberation. In a commencement address at Oberlin College on May 29, 1989, Lorde stated: 

“Our federal taxes contribute $3 billion yearly in military and economic aid to Israel. Over $200 million of that money is spent fighting the uprising of Palestinian people who are trying to end the military occupation of their homeland. Israeli soldiers fire tear gas canisters made in America into Palestinian homes and hospitals, killing babies, the sick, and the elderly. Encouraging your congresspeople to press for a peaceful solution in the Middle East, and for recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people, is not altruism, it is survival.”

Lorde’s profound words underscore the reality that our participation in this struggle transcends mere benevolence—it is a pivotal means to our very existence. Our federal taxes support the machinery of oppression in Palestine, making us unwitting participants in the suffering of Palestinians. This uncomfortable truth demands that we act, not just in solidarity, but as allies in the fight against oppression not just domestically, but globally.

A Call to Action

The dire circumstances now unfolding in Gaza, characterized by forced starvation and the obstruction of humanitarian aid, underscore the urgency of our call to solidarity. If you don’t know where to start, below are some actions we can all take both large and small.

1. Educate yourself and your community about the realities of the Palestinian struggle. A few books I recommend: 

I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti 

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe

Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History by Nur Masalha

Hundred Years’ War on Palestine by Rashid Khalidi

2. Advocate for human rights and justice for Palestinians in your conversations, social media platforms, and with your representatives. Call your representatives by going to www.house.gov/representatives and finding your representative’s contact information. 

3. Support Palestinian-led organizations financially and through solidarity actions.

Here are a few verified fundraiser websites supporting various Palestinian causes: 

Palestine Children’s Relief Fund: www.pcrf.net 

American Near East Refugee Aid: provides supplies like blood bags to help treat the injured, and hygiene kits, and blankets for displaced families. www.anera.org 

Muslims Around the World Project: provides emergency food, water, and medical supplies. www.matwprojectusa.org 

United Nations Relief and Works Agency: www.unrwa.org 

See Also
May Cover RAY2 – Lenox and Parker

Islamic Relief USA: www.irusa.org 

For Mama: https://actformama.org/ 

The Diaspora Psychologist: A global (fish)network of licensed Palestinian counselors, social workers, etc. providing free psychosocial support for Palestinians newly entering the diaspora due to forcible displacement from their homes in Gaza. https://shorturl.at/joqCQ 

4. Amplify Palestinian voices and stories to counteract the widespread misinformation and narrative control.

Support journalists and media outlets combating misinformation: Institute for Middle East Understanding: www.imeu.org 

Muslim (an independent media platform dedicated to delivering Muslim news and stories): https://muslim.co/about-us/

Follow Palestinian journalists @motaz_azaiza, @mohammed_qndeel1, @eye.on.palestine and @jenanmatari on Instagram 

5. Join or organize local and national protests to demand an immediate end to the violence and support for Palestinian liberation.

In these times of escalating conflict and deepening humanitarian crises, our shared fight for justice and equality gains even greater significance. We stand at a pivotal moment—a time to reaffirm our commitment to the liberation of all oppressed peoples, including the Palestinians, whose struggles and aspirations for peace and dignity echo our own.

Let us move forward with renewed vigor, united in our resolve to make justice, dignity, and peace not mere aspirations but tangible realities for all. Our solidarity is our strength, and together, we can forge a path towards a more just and compassionate world.

In solidarity, 

Kratina Baker, J.D.

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