Three years ago today, Mike Brown was gunned down by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. His body was then left in the hot sun for four hours, a horrifying testament to the disregard for Black life in this country. The absence of justice for Brown and his family highlighted how endemic police brutality is against Black and brown communities in the US.
As protesters took to the streets – met more often than not by militarized police and tear gas – Black Lives Matter became the rallying cry across the country and the country was forced to confront the demands of the Black liberation struggle again.
As Mike Brown lay dying in Ferguson, 6,000 miles away, Israel was pummeling the Gaza Strip. Israel’s 2014 assault on Gaza claimed the lives of 2,251 Palestinians, among them 551 children. The connections between the dehumanization Palestinians experience under Israeli apartheid and that experienced by Black and brown communities targeted by US institutional racism and discrimination targeting became clearer than ever.
Over the last three years, Black-Palestinian solidarity and work in joint struggle has reached new heights. Palestinian-American activist Bassem Masri was very involved in the Ferguson protests. He wrote in 2014:
On those terrible nights in Ferguson when the police were attacking peaceful civilians with tear gas, Palestinians under Israeli occupation offered advice on how to deal with the effects of the gas. Facing violence from an occupying force, whether in Palestine or Ferguson, forges a mindset that demands resistance and standing up for one’s community. When the police used military tanks and checkpoints to imprison the residents of Ferguson, I was reminded of life in the West Bank where I saw the Israeli military use the same tactics of repression.
You can see powerful examples of the joint struggle for Palestinian and Black liberation on our website. For ten lessons learned from the rich legacy of Black-Palestinian solidarity, check out Freedom, Bound. It also features Visualizing Palestine’s unEQUAL, a data visualization project illustrating the marginalization, institutionalized discrimination, and entrenched inequality experienced by both Black Americans and Palestinian citizens of Israel.
To honor today’s important anniversary, the US Campaign is hosting several webinars in the next six weeks lifting up resistance to white supremacy from the U.S. to Palestine, including:
August 24 – Debunking the Myth of Citizenship in the US and Israel
September 20 – Gentrification & Displacement: Stories from St. Louis to Jerusalem
Sign up to receive webinar details and other new resources from the unfolding “Together We Rise: Palestine as a Model of Resistance” curriculum.
Let the memory of Mike Brown inspire us all to learn about, and speak out against, state oppression from the US to Palestine.
P.P.S. In case you missed it, check out the video of our last webinar, No Bans on Stolen Lands: Refugee Resistance from the U.S. to Palestine.