Monday, August 19, 2013

50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

On Saturday, August 24, the National Action to Realize the Dream March will take place in Washington, DC in commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. 

The march will honor the progress of the past five decades as well as continue the struggle for economic, racial, and social equality. The recent acquittal of George Zimmerman highlights yet again the continued pervasiveness of racism in the United States and how far we are from accomplishing the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

As organizations and individuals working to end U.S. support for Israeli occupation and apartheid, it is also important to examine and fight against the oppression perpetrated by the United States itself. Our work for Palestinian rights is only strengthened by confronting all forms of racism and injustice. A recent statement put out by a coalition of Palestine justice groups in solidarity with Trayvon Martin and victims of racial violence explains how the struggle for justice for Palestine cannot move forward without challenging racism here at home: 

As people who are fighting for justice in Palestine, we understand how racism is used to justify and perpetuate an unjust system that oppresses whole populations. Our government tries to divide us by telling us that black is synonymous with “criminal” in the same way that it tries to tell us that Arab and Muslim is synonymous with “terrorist.” In many ways the Black struggle coincides with the Palestinian struggle, from racial profiling, to youth incarcerations, to segregated roads, buses, housing, and education. On top of this, a handful of the same corporations, like G4S and other prison industries are profiting off of the racist mass imprisonment of both African Americans in the U.S. and Palestinians in the Occupied Territories.

We encourage you to attend the march on August 24, which will begin at 8:00am at the Lincoln Memorial and end at the MLK Memorial where leaders of civil rights, labor, immigrant rights and social justice organizations will be speaking. At 5:00pm there will be a town hall meeting at Busboys and Poets (5th and K) with Dr. Cornel West, Gary Younge, Dave Zirin, and Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor to discuss what has changed since Dr. King gave his "I have a dream" speech and the prospects for rebuilding a fight against racism today.

In his "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence" speech delivered in April 1967, Dr. King drew the parallels between working for civil rights in the United States and opposing a U.S. foreign policy based on war and aggression, linking the problems of racism and militarism. Decades later as the United States continues to both fund and commit violence abroad, and it continues to be clear that we do not live in a "post-racial" society, it is important we stand up against all forms of injustice to achieve freedom, justice, and equality for all. 

PS- We hope you will join the US Campaign for our National Organizers' Conference September 20-22. Our conference theme is joint struggle and how we can connect our work for Palestinian rights with other movements for social justice. The agenda includes a panel discussion on Building Solidarity Across Black, Native American, and Palestinian Struggles. Register today!