Palestinian Children Aim to Inspire Americans with Gaza Light Message
Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are hosting a candlelight vigil to spread the #GazaLightMessage at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington D.C. this Tuesday evening from 7-8 PM (rain or shine). The children, who traveled through blockade and checkpoints to Washington DC to present their visions of peace to Congress, ask all to join them in this divisive time in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
“The vigil is part of the #GazaLightMessage, an ongoing advocacy campaign inviting families in Gaza to shine a light on Wednesday evenings to help Americans understand the depth of humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” said Donna Baranski-Walker, founder and executive director of Rebuilding Alliance, a US non-profit which has sent over 35,000 portable solar lights to Gaza families and is currently working to secure equal rights for Palestinians.
“Rebuilding Alliance partnered with Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations in Gaza and the West Bank and the Local Staff Union, the largest union in Gaza, to invite the participation of Gaza families.” Gaza has been devastated by a 12-year-long Israeli blockade and multiple military offensives. Unemployment, hunger, hospitals and medical care collapsing, restricted access to electricity, and lack of water are among the many issues that have led the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) to warn the Gaza Strip could become “unlivable by 2020”.
Recently, NY Times Columnist Michelle Alexander made headlines for her opinion piece “Time to Break the Silence on Palestine” in which she drew parallels between the struggle for civil rights in America and the experience of Palestinians. In both situations, Alexander asserted, complacency has a devastating effect. Others have compared new laws in Israel to the Jim Crow laws which were used to oppress African Americans.
Upon learning about the legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the struggles faced by people of color in the United States, 14-year-old Lama of Gaza City said, “I think it is better to work together. They know how we feel. They will vote to help us because they have had the same problems and the same struggle. They will stand with us and we will stand with them.”
As part of their mission to advance equal rights for Palestinians, Rebuilding Alliance sponsored the children and their mothers travel to the nation’s capital for the 4th Annual #ICareAboutPeace Congressional Briefing, which took place on February 5th. Rebuilding Alliance is asking Americans to urge their Senators and Representatives to press the Government of Israel to prevent the demolitions of Palestinian homes and communities, recognize Palestinian planning and building rights, open the blockade and turn on the lights in Gaza.
Compiled by Arab America