Leading Black and Palestinian cultural workers, scholars, and organizers have extended a powerful message of solidarity across bounds of occupation, incarceration, and deadly persecution with their release Tuesday of a video entitled, “When I see them, I see us.”
Co-written by Black activist and Stanford graduate Kristian Davis-Bailey and Palestinian poet and author Remi Kanazi, the short video features figures from Lauryn Hill to Cornel West to Ahmed Abuznaid. The aim, in the words of Palestinian scholar and organizer Noura Erakat, is to highlight “similarities, but not sameness, of Black and Palestinian life”—by exploring both communities’ resistance to racial injustice and state violence.
“Mutual expressions of solidarity have helped to generate a vigorous political kinship linking black organizers, scholars, cultural workers and political prisoners in the U.S. with Palestinian activists, academics, political prisoners, and artists,” declared former political prisoner and renowned scholar and campaigner Angela Davis in a statement accompanying the video.
Davis noted that this expression is not new: “Palestinians have spoken out passionately against racist police violence in Ferguson and Baltimore as black people have vehemently stood up in defense of Rasmeah Odeh. That the Palestinian people have refused to surrender after almost seven decades of continuous struggle against Israeli settler colonialism is a great encouragement to black people in the U.S. to accelerate our ongoing struggles against racist state violence.”
The video follows an August 19 statement from over 1,100 Black activists, scholars, and artists declaring solidarity with Palestine and committing to the opposition of private “security” corporation G4S, which “harms thousands of Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israel and hundreds of Black and brown youth held in its privatized juvenile prisons in the U.S.”