Last week I sat on my porch with one of my closest friends who is Jewish. We talked about the pain, grief, and anger we were experiencing as we witnessed so much death in Israel and Palestine.
As we spoke I affirmed how the epigenetic trauma of seeing Jews pulled from their homes, kidnapped and killed is real and I was here to hold space and help her process. Compassion, originating from the Latin compati, literally means to suffer with. I wanted to be with my friend at this moment to grieve the loss of life.
When I speak of community and getting free together –this is often what it looks like. Holding each other in our pain and our joy. Staying in difficult and uncomfortable conversations. Making space for grace.
Our conversation continued and we spoke of the long-standing solidarity between Black and Palestinian liberation movements. I shared how as a descendent of chattel slavery how familiar it feels in my body to watch what the Israeli government has inflicted on Palestinians for decades.
Oppressed peoples throughout history and today understand intergenerational trauma, displacement, state violence, being surveilled and our movement restricted.
No people should have to endure displacement, slavery, colonialism, dispossession, systemic oppression, violence, and genocide.
I stand for the liberation of Palestinian people.
Standing for a free Palestine does not mean we wish harm on others. We can advocate for Palestinian liberation and not be anti-Semitic, Islamaphobic, xenophobic, racist or anti-Black. I can stand for liberating Palestine and stand against the present and ongoing persecution of Jews. No Jewish person should ever feel unsafe simply because they are Jewish and no Palestinian should live without human rights.
All of our struggles and our freedom are linked.
I can hold both these truths in my head and my heart.
We all have the right to self-determination, dignity, and freedom. We all have the right to live without occupations, partitions, and barriers as a way of everyday life.
This is not a binary choice of one people over another. Liberation is not a zero sum game.
Safety is not finite and neither is love.
Safety, collective care, and freedom are not separate. We all have the right to self determination. To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves. Every human has the right to determine their own destiny to flourish, to be free.
Systems of power and oppression would have us think and feel otherwise.
But I refuse to surrender my humanity.
I beg you not to surrender yours. I refuse to not look at the violence that lives in me as I look at the violence that these systems impose on us. I will not lose my values at this moment or my deep belief in community and connection. We do not have to treat each other the way these systems treat us.
We can show up for each other in ways that dehumanize none of us. We can stay in the struggle together.
We must continue to witness and to act.
There is a way back.. a path to wholeness…. another world is possible, we must forge it together.
We must remember that the ultimate goal of equity work is justice. Justice for all, not just some.
I want to leave y’all with several resources:
Books I’ve been turning to:
- Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundation of Movement by Angela Davis
- Healing Justice Lineages by Cara Page and Erica Woodland
Solidarity with Palestine blog/reading list from a Black feminist perspective
Freedom, Bound -a project dedicated to Black-Palestinian solidarity
This playlist emerged from a Facebook post I made and asked folks to share favorite poems and music that deeply connect them to our collective humanity. At times like this we need art and artists.