Panel dis­cusses Black and Pales­tinian so­cial jus­tice move­ments

Panelists em­pha­size sol­i­dar­ity be­tween marginal­ized groups

The McGill Daily - - News - Aye­sha Tal­reja News Writer

As part of the Mon­treal Is­raeli Apartheid Week event series, ac­tivists Kezia Cur­tis, a mem­ber of Black Lives Mat­ter Detroit, and Brittany King and Aja Monet, mem­bers of the Dream De­fend­ers, a so­cial jus­tice group, spoke at a panel dis­cus­sion called “Black Per­spec­tives on the Ques­tion of Pales­tine” held on March 17.

The panel was or­ga­nized by the Black Stu­dents’ Net­work (BSN) and Mcgill Stu­dents in Sol­i­dar­ity for Pales­tinian Hu­man Rights (SPHR), and ex­plored “transna­tional sol­i­dar­ity be­tween the move­ments for jus­tice for Black peo­ple in North Amer­ica and move­ments for jus­tice for Pales­tini­ans in Is­rael and the Oc­cu­pied Ter­ri­to­ries.”

Cur­tis and King high­lighted their ex­pe­ri­ences as ac­tivists work­ing within the Black and Pales­tinian strug­gles, and em­pha­sized the need to de­col­o­nize the mind in or­der for sol­i­dar­ity net­works to thrive.

Ryan, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the event, told The Daily that he be­lieves that “if [ac­tivists] are go­ing to be suc­cess­ful in do­ing the work that we aim to do, then it is so im­por­tant for us to en­gage in sol­i­dar­ity with other op­pressed and marginal­ized groups.”

The panelists noted the his­tor­i­cal par­al­lels be­tween the Pales­tinian and Black so­cial jus­tice move­ments, with both pop­u­la­tions still fac­ing state­sanc­tioned racism and vi­o­lence.

Cur­tis spoke about her ex­pe­ri­ences as a Black wo­man trav­el­ling within Pales­tine. It was like “look­ing at Detroit in a dif­fer­ent part of the world,” Cur­tis said with re­gards to her trip to Pales­tine. Cur­tis also spoke about how vi­o­lence was ex­pe­ri­enced on a very real, day-to-day ba­sis, par­tic­u­larly at the univer­sity she vis­ited.

Cur­tis and King also spoke about other re­lated is­sues faced by both Black peo­ple in the U.S. and Pales­tini­ans, such as gen­tri­fi­ca­tion, lim­ited ac­cess to land and farm­ing, and mil­i­ta­riza­tion of set­tler-colo­nial states.

Cur­tis fur­ther noted a cru­cial dif­fer­ence be­tween the U.S. and Pales­tine which she wit­nessed on her trip – the out­right and ex­plicit vi­o­lence, guns, weaponry, and tear gas con­stantly be­ing used against Pales- tini­ans in He­bron, in con­trast to the sig­nif­i­cantly less mil­i­ta­rized na­ture of the vi­o­lence in the U.S..

Anti-black racism in sol­i­dar­ity move­ments

The panel also high­lighted the im­por­tance of chal­leng­ing anti-black racism within sol­i­dar­ity move­ments.

Ryan pointed out that “part of […] sol­i­dar­ity in­cludes crit­i­cal self-re­flec­tion in or­der to avoid be­ing com­plicit in the op­pres­sion of other groups, es­pe­cially in the case of anti-black­ness.”

King also stressed the need for self-re­flec­tion and crit­i­cal think­ing to chal­lenge in­stances of global an­tiBlack­ness. King ar­gued that so­cial me­dia and main­stream me­dia act as ways that up­hold anti-black­ness. For ex­am­ple, King ex­plained, the stigma that Black Mus­lims face in Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties – a phe­nom­e­non per­pet­u­ated through so­cial me­dia – is ev­i­dence to this.

As a Black wo­man, she added, it is im­por­tant for her to stand in sol­i­dar­ity with other op­pressed peo­ple. “Anti-black­ness won’t stop un­less we chal­lenge our­selves,” King ex­plained.

In an in­ter­view with The Daily, a stu­dent who at­tended the panel noted, “I thought it was en­cour­ag­ing that [the panelists] were work­ing on the ground in their own com­mu­ni­ties to ed­u­cate peo­ple on anti-black­ness and how to de­col­o­nize a mind­set that’s been so largely in­grained in so­ci­ety.”

King added that a crit­i­cal un­der­stand­ing of how col­o­niza­tion af­fects all peo­ple should unite seem­ingly dis­parate jus­tice move­ments. “For me, it’s just all about ed­u­ca­tion,” she said. “If you see that my strug­gle and your strug­gle are the same […] that will make that sol­i­dar­ity more at­tain­able.”

Michelle Blas­sou, a mem­ber of the BSN, told The Daily that the talk raised im­por­tant par­al­lels, and that “unit­ing around the idea that the colo­nial state will al­ways be against both of us leaves a lot of work to do.”

“If you see that my strug­gle and your strug­gle are the same [...] that will make that sol­i­dar­ity more at­tain­able.” Brittany King, mem­ber of the Dream De­fend­ers

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.