Dozens of renowned artists and activists are featured in an explosive new video that makes explicit the connections between black and Palestinian suffering under state violence and oppresssion.
The video, entitled "When I See Them I See Us" on YouTube, features appearances from personalities as varied as Ms. Lauryn Hill, Angela Davis, Palestinian hip-hop ensemble DAM, Danny Glover, Dream Defenders Co-Founder Ahmad Abuznaid and PACBI co-founder Omar Barghouti. They appear in stark black-and-white stills, holding signs with statements like "Free All Political Prisoners," "They choked me on video. I said I couldn’t breathe," and "Gaza Stands With Ferguson." These stills are interspersed between images of black and Palestinian protesters in action, police and military arresting and attacking protesters, and those whose deaths at the hands of police and military have galvanized widespread action in both places. The voiceover features impactful statements about the solidarity between movements.
The video comes on the heels of an August statement—signed by more than one thousand black artists, activists and constituent organizations—standing in solidarity with the struggle for Palestinian liberation from Israeli occupation. In a statement to Colorlines, the video’s producer Noura Erakat said it was inspired by simulataneous actions in Gaza and Ferguson in 2014:
Palestinians used social media to share their advice on how to deal with tear gas and rubber bullets, and protesters chanted "From Ferguson to Gaza, we will be free." Organically, an analysis emerged highlighting similarities, but not sameness, of black and Palestinian life, and more aptly, of their survival. Palestinians do not expect black solidarity, but appreciate it tremendously. Our communities are dehumanized using similar logics of racism and repression.
Davis elaborated on the solidarity in the same statement:
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. These powerful images represent a journey from struggle against tyranny to a collective hope for a just future.
The video is a joint project of Dream Defenders, Black Youth Project 100, DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival, Arab Studies Institute—Quilting Point Productions, Jewish Voice for Peace and the Institute for Middle East Understanding.
Check out the video above, and read the video’s script in full at BlackAndPalestinianSolidarity.com.