Black Lives Matter: Palestinians know Struggle Against Racism is Difficult
By: Mai Abdil-Rahman/Arab America Contributing Writer
After the entire country (Black, White, and every shade in between) banded together to keep the COVID19 at bay, America’s persistent pandemic of violent brutality and racism reminded us that unless we eradicate hate from all our institutions we are forever morally implicated for every life hate takes.
In early March, Americans united to fight a common challenge. It was most impressive to witness Americans of all races and ethnicities work together to slow the spread of the novel virus to protect fellow Americans. COVID19 does not discriminate and impacts us all. By May, the United States surpassed 100,000 deaths. It disproportionately took more African American lives and left many of them jobless and their families without income. Add insult to injury, as they fought off the COVID19 to protect us and their community, they were reminded of America’s unique and persistent brutal pandemic that also disproportionally targets them.
As we mourn the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, we demand police brutality ends. As mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers we are filled with a range of emotions sparked by the cold and heartless murder of Mr. George Floyd. When Mr. Floyd said that he could not breathe, our hearts ached with deep sorrow. We cried when he called for his mother. And we were filled with anger when no one responded to his pleas and came to his rescue. And we are also heartened by the ongoing battle for justice, equality, and peace waged across our nation.
As mothers, we cannot ignore the issues that are plaguing our communities. Like our African American sisters, we also have had talks with our own children on what to do when encountering a police officer. While this discussion is new for our community and became necessary after September 11, 2001, unfortunately, for our African American sisters, fear of law enforcement officers began many years ago with the birth of our nation. We cannot continue to fear the police and avoid our police departments whose missions are to protect Americans from physical harm–us and our African American neighbors and friends.
America’s deeply embedded racial legacy continues to produce inequity in all its forms, as COVID19 is clearly demonstrating. Ending America’s hateful legacy can no longer be postponed or delayed. The time to stop racism is now. For that reason, we are making a public plea for all members of our community to be the activist, leaders, advocates, and scholars that advance social justice in words and deeds, in speech, in writing, narrative, rhetoric, philosophy, research, theater, dance, film, fellowship, disposition, and leadership.
As Palestinians, we know the struggle for equal rights is difficult, but we also know working for justice liberates the abused and abuser, the corrupt police, and their victims. Staying focused on restorative justice and service we can become social agents for change. Ending racism is our collective responsibility, its weight has never been heavier or more costly in life and limb than today. Our African American sisters and brothers have raised their voices and called for equal justice for all Americans for far too long. Today more than ever they need us to join them and loudly demand an end to the chronic injustice that has marred our nation since its inception. Equal Justice for all Americans is a non-negotiable right, and absolutely yes, Black Lives Matter!
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