Palestine Blog #2: Where in the world is reconciliation peace and justice needed most?

“As a people who survived the middle passage and Jim Crow segregation—and organized successful struggles against those forms of oppression—we have a responsibility speak out about the occupation of Palestine and share with Palestinians the lessons of our struggles.” My dad and trip leader, Gerald, powerfully expressed the reasoning underpinning our African Heritage delegation to Palestine during our orientation today with the Interfaith Peace Builders.

And one after another, each of the Black activists who explained why they had chosen to participate in this delegation proceeded to electrify the room with their stories of how they had become politically active and dedicated to Palestinian liberation. Several of the delegates grew up in the Jim Crow South and participated in Black freedom struggle there. Gloria (pictured at right) grew up in Mississippi, led some of the sit-ins, and was one of the first Black teachers to integrate a formerly white school in the state. Mark, the final speaker told a moving story of a time when he was faced with a life threatening trip to the intensive care unit. After surviving that experience he was searching for what his purpose in life was. He concluded with a description of a conference he attended called, “The Jamestown Summit for Atoning for the Legacy of Slavery and Genocide,” where the question was asked at the end of the conference that has come to define his purpose: “Where in the world is reconciliation peace and justice needed most?” He is answering that question by joining our delegation.

Today we leave on this the first African heritage delegation to Palestine. I can’t express how fortunate I am to be traveling to this land of apartheid and resistance with people who helped win the Black freedom struggle that brought down the Jim Crow system.

This experience will surely change my life.


P.S. I hear that the some of the activists in the flotilla got their boat out of the harbor in Greece are pressing ahead with their voyage to deliver aid to Gaza. I hope they make it!