Dream Defenders in Nazareth : Ferguson to Palestine

Dream Defenders Delegation to Palestine Stages Flash Mob in Downtown Nazareth in Solidarity with Palestinians

January 16, 2015

Representatives at the forefront of the movements for Black lives and racial justice in the United States took a historic 10-day trip to Palestine recently to connect with activists living under Israeli occupation and apartheid, staging a flash mob in Nazareth to show solidarity for the Palestinian community. The delegation included Black and Latino journalists, artists, musicians, and community organizers from Ferguson, Missouri, Black Lives Matter, Black Youth Project 100 and Dream Defenders.

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 demonstration was a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people, to show that this movement goes beyond borders. The group decided to do the action as a call for people to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign that Palestinian civil society launched in 2005.”

Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors helped to choreograph the flash mob after the idea came up in conversation with one of the delegation’s Palestinian tour guides. “I helped organize this flash mob because the offering of visible solidarity is both healing and courageous and allows for our work as organizers, artists, militants and healers to signal to both the state of Israel and America that the current movement for Black liberation is on the front lines of fighting against the occupation of Palestine.”

St. Louis-based organizer Tara Thomas was struck by the similarities between the struggles of Palestinians and those of her community in Ferguson. “The parallels that can be drawn between the occupation in Palestine and the occupation of predominantly Black neighborhoods in the United States cannot be ignored. Palestinians were the first to reach out, sharing ways to protect Ferguson protesters from tear gas. We were honored to stand in solidarity by performing the flash mob in Nazareth. It was a small token of our appreciation. Our struggles are aligned which makes it imperative that our people be aligned.”

The delegation is part of an ongoing effort to forge deeper connections and solidarity between Black and Brown communities in the U.S. and Palestinians. In November, students from Palestine visited Ferguson and St. Louis to meet with activists organizing protests in response to the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Also in November, the Dream Defenders voted to endorse BDS during a their national Congress.

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