Dear Friends and Family of the PYM,We hope this finds you in good health and spirits. We write to share with you some of the highlights of the work we’ve done in 2018, share what we have in store for 2019, and ask for your continued support as we start the new year. As you may know, we are a collective of Palestinian youth working toward liberation and justice in Palestine and for all our communities globally. We are all grassroots youth volunteers with no paid staff and count on the generous contributions of our community to continue this work.At a time when catastrophe has engulfed so much of the world, when Palestinian land and life remains consistently under attack, and when the extremities of xenophobic hate and systemic violence make our organizing in the US more precarious, we look to you to sustain us in the struggle. From the ongoing global refugee crisis to increased militarization of borders, policing and surveillance systems, criminalization of political dissent and ongoing attacks on Palestinians and Palestine solidarity organizers in the US, we as the PYM promise that we will continue to mobilize until freedom and justice prevail. But we can’t do it alone!
- DEFEND KHAN AL-AHMAR CAMPAIGN: In May of this year, the IDF issued a demolition order for the Palestinian village of Al-Khan Al-Ahmar. On July 4th, Zionist forces entered the village in an attempt to forcibly displace 200 Palestinian residents from their homes, brutalizing 35 people in the process. The Palestinian Youth Movement began a campaign – coordinated with the Popular Mobilization Committee in Ramallah – to raise awareness about the colonial land grab and take action in defense of Al-Khan. For PYM, this mobilization campaign was critical to protect and defend both the residents of Al-Khan and the greater Jerusalem area in the context of the Trump administration’s move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We engaged social media campaigns with a goal of increasing awareness; developed educational materials relating to Al-Khan and its critical role in the broader ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and Palestine; and coordinated/released a statement demanding a halt to the demolition attempts that was endorsed by over 100 organizations internationally.
REFUGEE SUPPORT PROGRAM
- OPENING OF KHALED BAKRAWI CENTER: On January 20th, 2018, the Palestinian Youth Movement opened our first center in El Cajon, CA: the Khaled Bakrawi Center. The Center was created with the purpose of refugee and immigrant empowerment, as El Cajon is home to over a quarter of the Iraqi refugees in the U.S. and over 10,000 Syrian refugees. Since its opening, the Khaled Bakrawi Center has served immigrant and refugee youth by teaching skills such as computer training and offering English language tutoring, Arabic tutoring, after-school homework help. Our trauma-informed services and culturally relevant programs cultivate a sense of collective healing and community power meant to minimize alienation and feelings of loss which often accompany war trauma and the struggles of exile in immigrant and refugee youth.
- SWANACONNECT: REFUGEE SUPPORT VOLUNTEER SERVICE PROJECT IN GREECE: Sustaining our partnership with our friends in the SWANACONNECT Program, we continue to operate an ongoing refugee support service project in Greece, by sending youth volunteers from the US to provide culturally appropriate programs and services for recently displaced people from across the Asian and African continents.
SOLIDARITY AND JOINT STRUGGLE
- FROM TURTLE ISLAND TO PALESTINE: Building upon our ongoing joint-struggle organizing with indigenous communities, particularly the 2016 and 2017 Palestinian youth delegations to Standing Rock and the Save the West Berkeley Shellmound campaign in 2018, on November 12, 2018, we, the Palestinian Youth Movement, launched a 10-day delegation of Palestinian and Indigenous youth from Turtle Island (the US) to Palestine. Exploring questions of indigenous survival, youth resistance, protection of water and land, and settler-colonial violence, the delegation explored the intersections of our various struggles and deepened our bonds as communities in joint struggle. You can read our full press statement here and learn more about the delegation and our ongoing From Turtle Island to Palestine organizing work at our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- ANTI-RACIAL SURVEILLANCE AND POLICING: Deepening our bonds with Black and Brown communities in the US and developing a more critical analysis on the connections between state violence, surveillance and policing, PYM-USA members have been involved in campaigns and coalitions that work to transform U.S. state policies of racialized secret spying, surveillance, militarization, policing, and imprisonment of our communities. Most recently, we have partnered with Students in Justice in Palestine-West (SJP) to write an open letter to the University of California Task Force on University Wide Policing drawing the connections between UC policies of racialized policing and their refusal to divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation.
Our LAOCIE (Los Angeles – Orange County – Inland Empire) chapter has been building upon past work of the Bay Area Chapter, which has long participated in the Stop Urban Shield Coalition, by playing a vital role in coalitions to stop the US government’s Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) program. LAOCIE has engaged and participated in the coalition since late 2017 and provided research that draws the links between the CVE program and Zionism as well as offered popular educational resources to the community alongside our partners in Southern California. Joint efforts and community organizing around the anti-CVE campaign resulted in the Los Angeles City Council voting “no” on a recommendation to accept grant money to implement CVE.In 2017, the LAOCIE chapter hosted an educational event dedicated to honoring members of the Los Angeles 8, and drawing links between the pre-9/11 racial surveillance and criminalization Palestinians and Palestine supporters have endured and the 2017 Trump Executive Order resulting in the Muslim Ban. In November of 2018, our Texas chapter built upon this work by paying homage to the Palestinians of the Holy Land Five, commemorating the 10th year anniversary since they were indicted, and partnering with local community organizers to host an event to call attention to the ongoing criminalization of Palestinian political dissent. PYM also wrote a statement for the anniversary of the conviction and led a social media campaign to generate awareness.
As an organization dedicated to an unwavering, justice-centered mobilization of young people for Palestinian liberation and for social justice in our communities here in the US, we are not able to accomplish our work without the generous support of our community.
In April of 2019, PYM-USA will host an international gathering of Palestinian youth in Johannesburg, South Africa to revitalize the bonds of Palestinian youth transnationally, and to deepen our commitment and understanding of joint struggle. In the summer of 2019, we plan to host our third bi-annual Summer School, bringing together 60-75 Palestinian and Arab youth organizers for an intensive political education and project planning. We think of the School as a launching pad for Palestine youth organizing in the U.S, as it offers an unparalleled and much-needed time and space to connect and strategize our campaign(s) for the years ahead. Separate from these two projects, we have ample cultural empowerment, political education and mobilization, refugee support programs and more that we will continue to sustain.In order to continue developing this work and make an impact, we need your support.
As a 100% grassroots membership-based, volunteer-based organization, all of your contributions will go directly to our projects or general and minimal operating expenses.Are you able to donate this holiday season to support the role of Palestinian youth in continuing to persevere in the struggle for Palestinian freedom?
All donations are tax deductible and there’s the option to make a one-time or recurring contribution.
You can also donate by sending a check to our fiscal sponsor WESPAC:
77 Tarrytown Rd., Ste. 2W, White Plains, NY 10607Checks can be made out to WESPAC Foundation with “For PYM” in the notes.Thank you so much for being a part of the Palestinian Youth Movement community. We appreciate you and wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year. Until Return & Liberation,
Palestinian Youth Movement – USA Chapter