Commenter Profile

Total number of comments: 16 (since 2011-10-19 19:23:15)

Donna Baranski-Walker is the founder and Executive Director of Rebuilding Alliance, a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding war-torn communities and bringing the world together to make them safe. Rebuilding Alliance’s Rebuilding to Remain program with the Palestinian West Bank Village of Al Aqaba is currently under consideration as a semi-finalist for the 2016 World Habitat Award. On August 31, 2010, the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Polish Solidarity movement, Donna was awarded the Medal of Gratitude at the Gdansk Shipyard in Poland before 27,000 people for organizing the Support of Solidarity committee in Chicago when she was 24 years old. On October 2010, Donna received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Anna Eshoo. On Oct. 4, 2008, Rebuilding Alliance, the organization she founded, received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, “Presented to the Rebuilding Alliance in recognition of outstanding and invaluable service to the community,” upon unanimous passage of H.Res. 1369, The Peace- Makers Resolution. which Donna authored. Donna’s work has been awarded the 2003 Lewis Mumford Award for Development by the Architects, Designers, and Planners for Social Responsibility. Donna is 2nd generation Polish-American from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, raised Catholic now attending Quaker meetings. She holds a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an M.S. from the Unversity of Hawaii, both in engineering. Donna’s interest in the Middle East began in 1990 when she initiated a symbolic message to the people of Iraq as a way to end the then standoff without going to war. Some 10,000 people participated weekly with considerable U.S. news coverage. Her New York Times op-ed, “Small Lights in the Darkness,” was translated into Arabic and presented to the Iraqi Women’s Federation a week before the First Gulf War began. Mentored by Jerome Wiesner, President Emeritus of M.I.T. and former science advisor to President Kennedy, Donna’s work over the past 25 years explores the creative use of technology to link neighbors together over the world to build peace. Her latest work to create an advocacy mapping mobile app draws upon all she has learned about engaging Congress to provide a powerful new resource for citizen engagement and policy change.

Website: http://www.RebuildingAlliance.org

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  • Bulldozers poised outside Susiya, right in time for July 4th congressional break
    • To hear from Palestinians and Israelis who are directly involved in the international effort to keep Susiya standing, please join us on Wednesday, July 8 at 10am PST, 1pm EST, 8pm Jerusalem time for a Stay Human Conference Call with Congress.

      On the line will be Villages Group members Hamed Qawasmeh (also part of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) and Ophir Mintz-Manor. We are inviting Congressional staffers and you - as their constituents - to join the line. For more information, go to link to RebuildingAlliance.org

      Click Here to Register — and please register before 9pm July 7th. We'll send dial-in information accordingly.

  • Bedouin village razed 83 times must pay $500,000 for demolitions, Israel says
    • Pabelmont, there's no way Al Araqib or anyone in the world should pay these outrageous fines -- instead, help them pay their lawyer and fight the fines in the Israeli courts and the court of world opinion.

      Amos Gvirtz, on his recent speaking tour sponsored by Rebuilding Alliance, used his speaking events to raise funds to help Al Araqib legal defense fund; raise funds to rent a bus to get activists to the village (everyone is safer when friends are there); and raise funds for Dukium to teach the youth and women in Al Araqib and 2 more villages to use cameras to tell their own story.

      Amos Gvirtz wrote, "One of the most important lessons from World War II is that we should not tolerate racism anywhere. Especially in the Jewish State, we must affirm each person’s
      common humanity, whether Jewish or not, and uphold everyone’s basic human rights."

      If you or other readers and commentators would like to contribute to the Al Araqib Human Rights Fund please send a tax-deductible donation to Rebuilding Alliance, 178 S. Blvd., San Mateo CA 94402 with Al Araqib in the subject line. We've done our homework and we're partnering with the Human Rights Defenders Fund and Dukium in support of Al Araqib — good people.

  • Tell your congressperson or senator to speak out against repeated destruction of Al Araqib in the Negev
    • We're so close to 3rd place. Here's the Leaderboard for Small Nonprofits

      Give now please - Silicon Valley Gives ends at 2:59am Eastern / 11:59pm Pacific

    • Crunch time now. Rebuilding Alliance — with our work to help Palestinian villages build and engage people around the world to make them safe — is currently in 4th place in the Silicon Valley Gives Competition. It will end at 2:29am Eastern / 11:59 Eastern Pacific.

      You could give to help finish 8 houses in our Rebuilding to Remain program:
      http://svgives.razoo.com /story/Rebuilding-To-Remain-1

      You could give to send Backpack Kits for Gaza's Children:
      http://svgives.razoo.com /story/Gazas-Children

      You could give to open Lina's Collective Song Music Center and make hearts sing:
      http://svgives.razoo.com /story/Collectivesong-Music-Center

      or you could just give, unrestricted, where needed most:
      http://svgives.razoo.com /story/Rebuildingalliance

      We're good, really good, at what we do but we can't do this without you.

    • Please send a link to the source story

    • But they don't like getting bullied either. Senator Feinstein helps keep the Palestinian Village of Al Aqaba standing -- so did some 20 other senators and representatives. Their calls through their channels really matter. This is the Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk form of diplomacy -- and if we must use it one by one, village by village, until the policy changes - do it.

    • Yesterday, Ehud wrote to me on behalf of the Villages Group. Susya is in the south of the West Bank in Palestine. They are asking for help too, so is Um Al Kheir.

      The hope here in Susya rests with the pending High Court Case - but can they hold on? How is it that the High Court of Israel permits the lower courts to ok demolitions while a case is pending.

      Israel High court settler-judge Noam Sohlberg (Check: link to 972mag.com) rejected today the request of the people of Palestinian Susya and their legal representatives – Rabbis for Human Rights, to issue a temporary decree to prevent demolitions in the village until a final decision is made by the high court in their case.

      Sohlberg’s decision encourages the implementation of the demolition orders which was issued by the civil administration of the occupation’s army for a great part of the residence places in Palestinian Susya. For more details on the demolition threat pending on Susya, See: link to villagesgroup.wordpress.com"

    • Their office should be open now. When you talk with the receptionist, ask for the senior staffer for foreign policy and explain that this is an urgent matter and you are asking their help on your behalf to intervene with the State Department.

      Be sure to write down that senior staffer's name and ask for their email.

    • Yes! That Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) site is a great resource. Let us know what you hear, I will too.

  • Help break the blockade and clothe Gaza’s children this winter
    • So many thanks to the 121 people who gave today! We raised $22,251 for 'Clothe Gaza's Children' and we came-in third by most donors, 2nd in total funds raised. I'll keep you posted re. next steps. Sincerely, Donna

    • Thank you -- 'Clothe Gaza’s Children' is in 3rd place, with 24 min to go. 120 donors so far -- and we need 30 more to take 1st place.

      We've raised a total of $22,231 -- and we're in 2nd place by most donations. We just need about $2000 more to reach 1st place in 'most donations'. Whew.

    • Clothe Gaza's Children has raised $20,339 and there's still another $5400 in matching funds available. We're just eleven donors below first place.

      You might think that everyone else can give, but look, what you do really does make a difference. If this project wins Most Donors, that extra $1000 bonus is a third the cost of a shipping container... and a container holds about $96,000 worth of donated clothing.

      Please Give Now

    • Please give now. There's still $20,000 in matching funds and right now Clothe Gaza’s Children is in 2nd place!

      We'll need 162 more donors if the project is to win the bonus. Here's the GlobalGiving Leaderboard to follow our progress.

    • GlobalGiving's Bonus Day competition is on and Clothe Gaza's Children is running in 6th place right now.

      Such a small thing to ask — clothing for children in the cold of winter. Please give now. GG's Bonus Day ends at 9pm Pacific Time today.

  • The cost of fear: a night on the West Bank
    • Alice, thank you so much for writing, for being there, and telling their story with care. This is Donna from Rebuilding Alliance. When I asked one of our founding board members, Ghassan Abdullah, how to help resolve this latest crisis, he replied, "I suppose by telling the story, as Edward Said suggests." That is what you are doing.

      I've learned that Congressional staffers will make calls to the State Department and the Israeli Embassy, privately, in response to constituent requests for intervention especially when small, specific actions are requested. Based on what you are seeing, what specific action would you request?

      Lastly, somehow I am somehow receiving the COGAT (Israeli Civil Administration) monthly announcements. They sent a respectful message describing Ramadan prayers and noting an easing of checkpoints stating, "All Palestinian men aged 50 or older, and women aged 40 or older may visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Israel without a permit on Fridays during the month of Ramadan." At the bottom of the message, there is an asterisk without comment, "The policies above do not apply to Hebron residents", a city of 250,000 people.

  • Israeli army enacts curfew near Nablus and raids eight major West Bank cities

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