Solidarity Does Not Mean Sameness
… But Relationships Sustain: Black-Palestinian Solidarity
On May 14, Grassroots International staff from our US internationalist and Middle East programs joined a gathering of practitioners, movement leaders, and activists at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, to trace the past, present and future of Black-Palestinian solidarity.
The event, Black Studies, Palestinian Studies: Divergences and Convergences, explored the intersections between these fields of studies and how these intersections inform both political and intellectual practice. It also sought to explore the differences between them, and to answer some of the most pressing questions on Black-Palestinian solidarity. The conference focused on race, history and trauma; law, violence and justice; and praxis, community, solidarity.
The conference featured a diversity of speakers. Ahmad Abuznaid of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, a Grassroots International grantee ally, spoke powerfully about the importance of relationship building and deepening for Black-Palestinian solidarity. Marc Lamont Hill, a political commentator, activist, and academic, spoke via zoom about the roots of Palestinian solidarity and Black Liberation, naming Malcolm X, George Jackson, and the Black Radical tradition. He observed that Israel has created a racialized state and, with its occupation, is subjecting Palestinians to premature death. He cautioned that solidarity is not about “sameness,” nodding to the conference’s recognition of divergences: “I don’t need to be the same as you to be in solidarity.”
Also in attendance were activists from Community Movement Builders, the core organizers of the STOP COP CITY movement in Atlanta, who shared that the Israeli military had arrived in Atlanta the day of the conference to participate in a law enforcement exchange. Like many US police departments, the Atlanta Police has received training from the Israeli military, speaking to the urgent necessity of deepening solidarity across borders.