As the incoming Community Engagement Coordinator of the Palestinian AmericanCommunity Center, NJ, this panel was the refreshing and enjoyable zoom call we have all been needing given all that is happening and continues to happen around us daily, both locally and globally.
The current global pandemic, recent fight for justice for Black lives and prosperity, and threats of further annexation of Palestinian land, amongst other acts of injustice, have left us very much in need of hope and inspiration to continue doing the social justice work we are engaged in.
The panelists, Vashti Dubois, Ladan Osman, and Moustafa Bayoumi, were intentionally picked and dynamic, bringing a holistic lens to the conversation of the power and use of words as a platform to create change. There was a necessary emphasis on the current (chaotic and scary) political climate and the need now more than ever for cross-racial solidarity and internal anti-racism and anti-Blackness reflection and work, coupled with an uplifting reminder about how (the choice of) our words can act as catalysts for the liberation of all oppressed, displaced, and historically marginalized people.
From the reminders of the importance of storytelling, use of language, and reclamation and preservation of our own narratives and written/oral histories, to the reminders of how place and location (or lack thereof) can form our identity and guide how we navigate the world, to the reminders of centering social justice, resistance, and liberation at the heart of all our writing/work, I left the webinar inspired to be an active agent of change in my community and beyond.
As someone who expresses myself best through writing, I felt validated and empowered to continue putting my thoughts, words, and work onto paper (literally and digitally). We do so not only to honor the legacies of our ancestors and all those who came before us, but to document the (sometimes oppressive and difficult, yet sometimes rich and beautiful) realities of our present, and to provide hope for a future free from all systems of oppression; we write to bring us that much closer to a future of liberation and prosperity.
Community Engagement Coordinator, Palestinian American Community Center