By: Olaitan Olanrewaju
A solid foundation for Black-Palestinian solidarity was laid in 1967 by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which stated: “In the Middle East, America has worked with and used the powerful organized Zionist movement to take over another people's home and to replace these people with a partner who has well served America's purpose” (SNCC, 1967).
As time has passed, this alliance between the Black and Palestinian communities has only grown stronger. At the pinnacle of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Black communities all around the world asked one question: In the face of our suffering, who will stand with us? Who will bear our pain? The Palestinians were not reluctant to answer this question.
Taqi Spateen, an artist based in Bethlehem, exemplifies this enduring solidarity. Moved by the protests following George Floyd’s tragic death, he channeled his inspiration into a powerful act of resistance: a mural painted on the Israeli Separation Wall. This act of defiance not only honors Floyd’s memory but also symbolizes the rejection of physical and ideological barriers that seek to stifle the Palestinian spirit. Spateen's mural of Floyd sits next to depictions of Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi and martyred medic Razan al-Najjar. With this mural, Spateen made one thing clear: We will all be free.
Scholar and activist, Angela Davis’, 2020 statement further reflects on the collective struggles and sacrifices of Black and Palestinian communities, each portraying a story of resilience and resistance.
As Israel's extremist right-wing government has waged war on Gazans, Black Lives Matter (BLM) chapters, such as BLM Los Angeles, have spoken out in support of Palestinians, drawing attention to the ongoing fight against settler colonialism and apartheid: “Black Lives Matter Grassroots stands in solidarity with our Palestinian family who are currently resisting 57 years of settler colonialism and apartheid. As Black people continue the fight to end militarism and mass incarceration in our own communities, let us understand the resistance in Palestine as an attempt to tear down the gates of the world's largest open-air prison.” In the profound recognition of themselves within each other's struggles, Palestinians and Black people share a mutual understanding that their paths to freedom are inexorably intertwined. Through this shared recognition, they acknowledge that the liberation of one is inextricably linked with the liberation of the other. Together, Black people and Palestinians are creating a vision of a world in which their lives are sacred and liberation knows no bounds.