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Dear Gaza block party raises awareness and money

By Kent Mori |
October 2, 2015
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Mock apartheid wall displayed at block party detailing the 504 names of the children killed in 2014 Israeli attack on Gaza. (FightBack!News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - Dear Gaza, an open air concert and block party drew hundreds of people here, , Sept. 26, and raised $20,000 in medical relief for Gaza.

As local Palestinian activist, Anti-War Committee member, and artist Karmel Sabri put it, “With a population of 1.8 million people, the Gaza Strip has endured three wars since 2007 and faces an ongoing blockade imposed by Israel. Palestinians living in Gaza, while resilient in the face of tremendous hardship, suffer from ongoing trauma, injuries, disabilities and increased cancer rates due to Israel’s use of chemical weapons. Medical aid such as medicines for chronic conditions, hospital equipment, wheelchairs, over-the-counter drugs and health care supplies are direly needed. This is where Dear Gaza comes in. With this event, we have a chance to alleviate the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza.”

Funds raised will be donated to the leading organization American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) that works to improve the lives of Palestinian refugees and poor families in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.

Bill Corcoran, president of ANERA, says, "We're excited that the community in Minneapolis has chosen to partner with ANERA to provide much-needed medicine and relief supplies to Palestinians. Our distribution network of clinics, hospitals and charitable organizations in Gaza ensures that these supplies will reach the communities that are most in need.”

The event educated people about the conditions in Gaza with the mock apartheid wall detailing the 504 names of the children killed in Gaza in 2014 and with calls for solidarity from the stage.

As the performance art and hip hop took the energy to another level, with dancing in the streets, people came pouring out of the neighborhood demanding to know what was happening, and how they could help. Chants led from the stage gave cry to a good place to start, “Free, free, Palestine.”

Sponsoring organizations and businesses included Sabri Properties, Mizna, Anti-War Committee, ANERA, Women Against Military Madness, Leaning Tower of Pizza, Minnesota Peace Action Coalition, Pangea World Theater, Desoplex, Middle East Peace Now, and Manal Deeb. Endorsing organizations included Students for Justice in Palestine, U.S. Palestinian Community Network-Minnesota Chapter, Students for a Democratic Society at UMN, Macalester Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights, and the Welfare Rights Committee.