March 16th, marks the 14th anniversary of the day our daughter Rachel stood in Gaza with other international activists and challenged the Israeli militaryâ€™s illegal confiscation of Palestinian land and the demolition of Palestinian homes. Rachelâ€™s life was stolen that day, but her spirit was not. As these anniversaries approach, there are sometimes tensions as we struggle to find the best way to remember, and to explain why we do so. But in a moment of illumination, we are reminded that each March 16th is for us another opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to Gaza. It is a place that overflows with suffering, yet is filled with so much more.Â Rachel wrote to us about the people.Â â€śâ€¦I am also discovering a degree of strength and of the basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstancesâ€¦I think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these people.Â Maybe, hopefully, someday you will.â€ť
During the past fourteen years, we have been blessed with our connections to Palestinians in Gaza, in the West Bank, and elsewhere in the world. We have built relationships with them and with Palestinian and Jewish Israelis who reflect the strength and dignity Rachel recognized, and with open hearts and minds steadfastly pursue justice.
Here in the U.S., it is easy to be distracted by our new political challenges. But with colleagues in our hometown of Olympia and beyond, we are articulating our vision for a â€śgreatâ€ť country and world. In the words of the song from the Civil Rights Movement, we are keeping â€śour eyes on the prize.â€ť We know you are doing the same. One part of that vision is freedom for Gaza.
At the Rachel Corrie Foundation, commitment is a core value. Today, as we remember and recommit, we are counting on you to join us in building community with Gaza. You, your organization, and your community can make so much difference for people there.
- Support Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish who is in Israeli court this month seeking accountability for the deaths of his three daughters and niece during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009. Dr. Abuelaishâ€™s civil lawsuit, pending since 2010, seeks an apology and compensation that will benefit the Daughters for Life Foundation, which awards scholarships to women throughout the Middle East. Dr. Abuelaish has asked legal analysts, journalists, scholars, and activists to attend the trial and to raise public awareness.Â Watch for reports, and voice your support through social media.Â For information, press inquiries, or to attend the trial,Â contactÂ firstname.lastname@example.orgÂ +1 (416) 567-6604. To learn more about the familyâ€™s story, see the March/April 2016Â Washington Report.
- Explore compelling stories from young Gazan writers and artists who, through mentorships, have seen their work published. Visit our colleagueâ€™s project We Are Not Numbers and empower these Gaza young people by sharing their voices.
- During Womenâ€™s History Month and through Rachelâ€™s birthday April 10th, please DONATE to build community with Gaza and to sustain the Rachel Corrie Foundationâ€™s growing number of Gaza projects. Lend your support to grassroots activism, shared resistance and empowerment across borders â€“ from Olympia to Gaza â€“ through arts, sport, and education!
Thank you for remembering with us today and for keeping Rachelâ€™s spirit and commitment alive through your actions for Gaza.
Cindy and Craig
March 16, 2017