The following was read at the Chicago Rally for Palestine on July 20, 2014. Police estimates put the crowd at over 10,000 people.
You are not Alone.
To my friends, colleagues in Palestine and Palestinian-Americans here in Chicago, I join you today as an ally that wants you to know you are not alone.
You are not alone in your grief, as you see photos of dead children, women, men, hidden under collapsed buildings, on stretchers fleeing the bombing, in hospitals wrapped in white plastic with blood flowing.
You are not alone as your heart breaks watching videos of a father pleading with his dead child to wake up, a mother frantically searching for her dead son who was last seen playing soccer on the beach.
You are not alone as you scream at the tv, radio, and mainstream news coverage that privileges Israeli life over Palestinian, that puppets Israeli government press releases, and omits providing any context about the ongoing siege and military occupation of Gaza.
You are not alone as you manically repost on Facebook every picture that shows protest crowds around the world, where thousands hold Palestinian flags and raise their voices to protest the inhumanity. This somehow restores our faith that our cries for justice are being heard.
You are not alone as you give in and engage ridiculous comments and tweets coming from supporters of Israeli militarism on social media, or break down when the man in the elevator says your Palestinian scarf is offensive, or when someone lectures you about needing a Palestinian Gandhi – as if that somehow is the magic answer to ending the occupation.
You are not alone as you weep, tired of feeling as if the world has forgotten your people. Your loved ones. Your families. Your friends. The ones who send us messages to please make the bombs stop. End the siege of Gaza. Stop providing military aid and weapons that keep on killing. And Killing. And Killing. And we weep at our own powerlessness.
You are not alone.
You have people of conscience – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Secular people – who hear your cries, your outrage, your demands for justice. We are with you today, tomorrow, and in years to come as we work for human rights, equality, justice, and peace for all peoples in the Middle East. May we prevail, together in a community of love and solidarity.