Color Of Change Union stands in solidarity with Palestine. Color Of Change Union logo, a Black fist with red, orange and yellow rectangles encircling it sits above the words “stands in solidarity with” which sit above a Palestinian flag

Color Of Change Union Stands with Palestine

Responding to the call for solidarity from the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, Color Of Change Union, representing over 75 staff members across the country, stands firmly with the Palestinian people and their resistance against colonization, military and police violence, forced expulsion, racism, and Zionism. We believe Palestinians deserve self-determination, the right to return to their homes, freedom of movement, free speech, assembly, and protest, and the freedom to create thriving societies and livelihoods.

At least 274 Palestinian people have been murdered by Israeli air strikes and Israeli forces on the ground in the last month, including at least 71 children. These attacks are retribution for Palestinian protests against families being threatened with forced expulsion from their homes in the neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, as well as attacks on worshippers at al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan.

None of this is a sudden occurrence — it is a logical continuation of a 73 year violent military occupation that has criminalized, displaced, and murdered Palestinians for the benefit of Israeli Zionists who see themselves as superior. Much of this occupation has been funded by U.S. tax dollars: in 2020 we sent over $3 billion, mostly for weapons. As staff who are deeply invested in Black liberation, we cannot help but see the parallels this system has to American anti-Black racism, historically and today. We recognize that the struggle against racism, colonialism, and state violence is a global struggle, and that justice will never be real until we stand together against injustice everywhere.

Color Of Change’s mission is to “move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.” But we cannot create a more human and less hostile world in a vacuum that focuses only on domestic issues — racism and oppression here are strengthened, informed, and enabled by racism and oppression across the globe.

We believe the struggle for Palestinian liberation is a struggle against anti-Blackness, racism, and colonialism that impacts our struggle for Black liberation in America. The Israeli occupation of Palestine perpetuates the global practice of racism, supremacy, and anti-Blackness, which normalizes the collective punishment of Afro-Palestinians, Black Israeli citizens, and other people of African descent throughout the world, including right here at home.

We also reject the notion that one must be an “expert” on the history and politics of Palestine/Israel to speak out against what is happening. The lived experience of Black people in America provides the collective expertise to acknowledge the intertwined systems of punishment, criminalization, and surveillance that oppress Palestinians, Black people, and many others globally:

As union members at the nation’s largest digital racial justice organization, who we choose to support and oppose defines our values. In response to Israel’s ongoing war crimes, several Black-led and peer digital organizations, many of whom we partner with regularly, have released public statements of solidarity: M4BL, Dream Defenders, BAJI, MoveOn, Black Visions Collective. Although Color Of Change has not released a public statement about Palestine, we are speaking out as COC Union, on our own terms. We believe the values we proclaim out loud as an organization both internally and externally matter — we have the platform to literally reach millions of people and help them understand why the movement for Black liberation in the U.S. is inextricably dependent on liberation for all people everywhere. As Fannie Lou Hamer wisely declared “none of us are free until we’re all free.”

Black people in the U.S. have a powerful history of speaking up in solidarity with Palestinians. In the 1960s and 70s, Malcolm X wrote essays dismantling Zionist logic, and SNCC and the Black Panthers put out statements of unequivocal support for Palestinian freedom. Movement elder Angela Davis spoke just last month on a panel hosted by the Dream Defenders and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights where she shared stories of Palestinian prisoners of war sending her letters of solidarity while she was wrongly imprisoned.

Additionally, Palestinians today have been some of the most powerful global voices speaking up in solidarity with Black Americans. In 2014, Palestinian activists on Twitter sent organizers in Ferguson advice on how to deal with tear gas and other forms of protestor suppression. And exactly one year ago, Palestinian activists joined us in protesting the murder of George Floyd, connecting it to their own struggles against state violence — even painting multiple murals of George Floyd on the apartheid wall separating Israel and the West Bank.

These acts of solidarity garnered global attention and forced people to confront the ways racism and oppression are part of a global system. This undoubtedly helped build the momentum for many of the wins Color Of Change has been a part of in the last year, including defunding police departments and getting Trump out of office. But if we want people across the globe to continue standing with us against anti-Black violence and racism, we need to show up in return when they call for our support.

One thing we want to be sure to state plainly is this: anti-Zionism is NOT anti-Semitism. Zionism is a political ideology that became a settler-colonial movement, resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, the erasure of an entire culture and history, and the establishment of a racist hierarchy in Israel that literally has different laws for Jewish Israelis and non-Jewish Palestinians.

Accusations that critiques of the state of Israel are anti-Semitic have long been used to shut down conversations about Palestinian occupation and oppression, but more and more activists are cutting through these flimsy attacks. Movements against oppression have a long history of being undermined and pitted against one another by those in power, and Black organizers in the U.S. are intimately familiar with this reality. We cannot afford to fall for the same tired tricks when it comes to Palestine.

We want to end by saying we are grateful to the people of Palestine for their decades of solidarity with Black liberation struggles, and we stand with you in return.

In solidarity with Palestinian calls to end our complicity in their oppression, we commit to the following work, and to push institutions like Color Of Change to do the same. We invite you to join us in supporting and fighting for:

  1. Boycotts of corporations, artists, and sporting and academic institutions complicit in Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies against Palestinians. Learn more at bdsmovement.net/what-is-bds and check out this Instagram post for a list of companies you can boycott. You can also support the Block the Boat labor solidarity week of action to keep Israeli shipping company ZIM from docking their boats ANYWHERE worldwide. Learn more at blocktheboat.org

… until justice is real, for the Palestinian people.

In Solidarity & Struggle,

The Color Of Change Union

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Color Of Change Union

We are staff at Color Of Change. Proudly represented by the Washington-Baltimore News Guild. Manifesting our vision for racial justice in the workplace & beyond