Tuesday, November 15th, local DC activists will be boarding buses around the city educating the public on actions happening simultaneously in the Occupied West Bank in a show of solidarity with Palestinian Freedom Riders.
When: Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Where: DC Metro Public Transportation and local university shuttles
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Fifty years ago, 13 Freedom Riders left Washington DC on Greyhound and Trailways buses headed to New Orleans in order to directly challenge segregation in the Jim Crow South by staging mixed-race bus rides. This Tuesday, November 15th, Palestinian Freedom Riders will be asserting their right for liberty and dignity by challenging the military regime of the Israeli Occupation through non-violent civil disobedience in Freedom Rides of their own by boarding segregated Israeli public transportation headed from the West Bank to Occupied East Jerusalem.
Local activists in Washington DC, including students from American, George Washington, Georgetown, and Howard University, as well as members of the United States Palestinian Community Network – DC, will be boarding DC Metro buses and their respective university shuttles Tuesday morning passing out educational flyers and speaking to local residents, in a show of solidarity with the Palestinian Freedom Riders.
After the morning solidarity bus rides, they will then be meeting at Howard University’s main quad at 12pm for a demonstration in support of the Palestinian Freedom Rides, highlighting the parallels between these actions of defiance and the US Civil Rights Movement.
The actions of Palestinian Freedom Riders are a challenge to Israel’s apartheid policies, the ban on Palestinians’ access to Jerusalem, and the overall segregated reality created by a military and settler occupation that is the cornerstone of Israel’s colonial regime.
The American Freedom Riders began their campaign knowing they would be arrested, or worse, beaten to within an inch of their lives. They made a decision – “Jail No Bail.” People thought they were crazy, but they continued on their ride to freedom and despite the arrests and vicious beatings, they prevailed.
Likewise, the Palestinian Freedom Riders recognize that their defiance of the system of apartheid practiced in the Occupied Territories is dangerous. They could be attacked by Israeli settlers during the rides themselves, or detained for months without trial under Israeli military law, facing potential abuse in prison. By standing up for their rights, they will be risking their lives.
Clarence Jones, former lawyer and adviser to Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote this week “Just as our Freedom Riders in the 20th century were primarily directed to awaken the conscience and sense of decency in the majority of white America, our Palestinian “Freedom Riders” brothers and sisters are seeking, in the 21st century, to awaken the conscience of the world and a majority of Israelis.”
Tuesday, here in DC, activists are standing up and lending their voices and support for these brave actions, as well as calling others to join them. Come to Howard University, home to the legacy of the US Civil Rights Movement, at 12pm and lend your voice in support of Palestinians struggling for justice and freedom.