America’s Arab American Youth: Future Leaders for Justice
No doubt that the recent and ongoing Israeli violence against innocent and unarmed Palestinian civilians shocked the conscience of all peace-loving people not only in Dearborn but across the nation and around the world.
The Israeli efforts to impose a misleading narrative regarding its occupation and its apartheid practices in Mandatory Palestine failed. We have seen a spontaneous outpouring of support for the Palestinian people who have been suffering for decades from Israeli practices. Ending the Israeli occupation and demanding justice for the occupied Palestinians are increasingly widely-endorsed demands, especially among the youths.
Israel has been bombing Gaza for ten days. The Israeli state violence is the worst as to Gaza but is not limited to Gaza. There is lesser level of violence against Palestinians in Jerusalem, the West bank and inside the Green line against Palestinians who hold Israeli citizenship. Throughout the world, people watched the violence play out on TV. In Dearborn Arab Americans watched al Jazeera’s 24- hour coverage of the violence.
For the past few days, the streets of Dearborn, the home of the highest concentration of Arab and Muslim American population in Michigan and across the nation, were filled with events and protests. The message was loud and clear that the Palestine cause is well, sound and a live in the hearts of all. These demonstrations and public activities were planned and organized by the younger American- born generation. These young and youth lead the movement and surprised all that their attachment to Palestine and their passion for genuine and lasting peace for Palestinians is unwavering.
The vast majority of the protesters and demonstrators, who came out from all ends and every corner of the city of Dearborn, were in small groups. They made their own signs loudly declaring support for the Palestinian people. Many were the children of first-generation Americans. As a parent and first generation American myself, I was touched and surprised by the second and the third generation’s spontaneous action.
They did not wait for my generation to start the process. They organized themselves and prepared their own signs and eloquently spoke to the media, airing their views about the continued Israeli aggression against all Palestinians. Despite all the different chants, the vast majority stayed focused and put forth a clear message to President Biden during his visit to Dearborn this week.
President Biden should consider meeting and discussing Palestine with the youth, not with the typical and traditional community leaders. The young and the youth reflect the pulse of the community at large with no agendas and no self- promotion.
As a parent, like many others, are very proud to see our young American-born children continuing the march for justice in America and overseas. The future is promising despite the sense of hopelessness that the Israeli aggression and destruction causes.
We are hopeful. We are optimistic. The second and third generation might not speak Arabic, but they know the vocabulary of justice and equality that transcends languages and cultures. They march and say: Black Lives Matter, Palestinian lives matter and Palestinians deserve to breathe.
Imad Hamad, AHRC Executive Director
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