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Palo Alto says stop to Palestinian genocide: Community unites in solidarity

 

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With music, food and children's activities, a large group of residents of Palo Alto, California, joined the growing number of voices against the genocide that Israel is committing against the Palestinian people. 

The congregation took place at King Plaza, 250 Hamilton Ave., where a vigil was held in solidarity with Palestine, organized by ASWAT and Heal Palestine.

Among the organizations present, it stood out Zawaya, a nonprofit entity that promotes multicultural discourse in the Bay Area through Arabic arts. Founded in 2003 by Nabila Mango and Haya Shawwa Ben-Halim, Zawaya seeks to offer a space to discover and enjoy the multiple forms of art in Arab culture. 

Bisan Shehadeh, executive director of Zawaya, underlined the importance of solidarity with Palestine, highlighting the community's crucial role in speaking out against the injustices it faces.

Shehadeh expressed to Peninsula 360 Press in an interview that, ?Palestine is in our hearts and our minds. Although our organization is not only for Palestinians, I am an indigenous Palestinian. My mother, the founder of Zawaya is an indigenous Palestinian. The community has asked us to present music from Palestine here at the vigil?

The vigil creates a community space for Palestinians, as well as to raise their voices against the atrocities and brutalities they have been experiencing recently.

Palo Alto says stop to Palestinian genocide: Community unites in solidarity
In a Bay Area context marked by cultural diversity and international solidarity, the Palo Alto community reaffirmed its commitment to justice and human dignity, raising its voice against the Palestinian genocide and advocating for a future of peace and reconciliation in the region. Photo: P360P

For decades, Palestine has faced the occupation of its lands, the expansion of illegal settlements and the economic, social and military blockade imposed by Israel. This situation has worsened over time, resulting in a conflict that has claimed countless innocent lives, especially in the besieged Gaza Strip. 

The indiscriminate attacks, the destruction of basic infrastructure and the constant displacement of Palestinian families are disastrous aspects of the Zionists' siege against Palestinians who are crying out for a just and lasting solution. The occupation of Palestine has occurred throughout Bisan Shehadeh's life. 

Shehadeh said: 'My parents are exiles from their villages who had to evacuate when the Zionist militia entered. They were dispossessed of their homes from a very early age.'

The genocide in Gaza resonates deeply in communities like the Bay Area in the United States, reminding us of the urgency of international solidarity and commitment to global justice.

?It is very important that Americans speak out against the genocide occurring in Gaza. They can participate in vigils like this, or they can talk to their local representatives, ask for a ceasefire. The most important message is that being anti-Zionist is not being anti-Jewish? Shehadeh declared. 

For her part, Michelle Higgins, one of the residents who organized the vigil, expressed her commitment to the Palestinian cause and regretted the lack of response from local authorities to the ceasefire resolution. 

Higgins urged the community not to remain indifferent to the suffering of the Palestinian people, remembering the shared responsibility to demand justice and end violence.

Higgins told P360P that “the Palestinian community feels this very deeply, and so does the Muslim community. I'm not Palestinian or Muslim, but you can't look at those images and not feel like you have to do something. Especially when you know our government is funding this war in Gaza. “It's very important for other people to know that people in this community really care about what's going on.”

Regarding the Latino community's participation in the protests against the genocide in Gaza, Higgins added: “Our movement is very multiracial multicultural and I think there is a lot of common ground between the communities about the experiences they have had in their home countries. As a group, we are of all ages and backgrounds.”

It is crucial to recognize that criticism of genocide should not be equated or confused with anti-Semitism; To do so is to simplify and distort the true reasons for condemning violence and injustice.

Higgins believes that “it is ironic that speaking against genocide can be described as anti-Semitic. We speak for human life, human dignity and justice.”

Domenica, 25, originally from Ecuador and a participant in the vigil, shared her feeling of helplessness in the face of the tragedy in Palestine, but also her hope in generating change through collective action. 

“As a young person I feel helpless, unable to help seeing so many children and adults die every day. I think coming makes me feel a little more faith in changing what happens. Don't be afraid to raise your voice. Even though we are Latino and many of us have no connection with Palestine, do we have to raise our voices to change the world?

In a Bay Area context marked by cultural diversity and international solidarity, the Palo Alto community reaffirmed its commitment to justice and human dignity, raising its voice against the Palestinian genocide and advocating for a future of peace and reconciliation in the region.

You may be interested in: US maintains its position and vetoes resolution for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza for the third time

Peninsula 360 Press
Peninsula 360 Presshttps://peninsula360press.com
Study of cross-cultural digital communication

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