400,000 GATHER AT FREEDOM PLAZA IN SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINE
In a remarkable display of unity, 400,000 people—advocates for justice and believers of peace, converged for a historic march this past Saturday. To ensure the Chicago community played a significant role in this momentous protest, CIOGC collaborated diligently with AMP and ICNA, orchestrating the organization of nearly 20 buses that transported over 1,000 protestors from Chicago to DC.
The impetus for this massive mobilization came when the protest was announced, prompting CIOGC to recognize the urgency of their commitment to respond to crises and fill essential gaps.
CIOGC felt an undeniable call to action. At the core of the Council lies a passionate commitment to advocacy and education. Witnessing the unfolding tragedy of the ongoing Palestinian genocide, it became our duty as Muslims and devout advocates for justice to mobilize every resource at our disposal in support of the cause. Acknowledging this imperative, the Council and partners, AMP and ICNA, set the wheels in motion, and quickly got to planning.
Day in and day out, the organizers worked tirelessly behind the scenes, handling everything from finding and booking buses to organizing pickup locations and ensuring the smooth boarding of numerous protestors.
The path to the historic march was not without its challenges. A severe winter storm in the Midwest posed a significant obstacle, but the community’s unhindered desire to stand up for the Palestinian cause went beyond the imminent weather-related hurdles. Enduring 14+ hours, technical issues, and relentless snow, 1,000 Chicagoans arrived in Washington, D.C., etching their place in history alongside 400,000 advocates of justice.
After the challenging journey, an opportunity arose to speak with community members, gaining valuable insight into their thoughts during this historic march. Tesneem Allan, one of the bus riders with OPPC, shared her experience as a Palestinian, highlighting the constant struggle for her people’s right to live and exist. Her existence became her resistance, she explained, but for the first time, she felt a glimmer of hope for a day of liberation for her country.
Tesneem continued, expressing the mix of emotions that characterized the march “While it was heartwarming and hopeful, it was also heartbreaking” She emphasized the need to organize such protests in the first place to stress to the government that funding genocide, murdering children, and violently stealing homes and displacing indigenous inhabitants is utterly unacceptable.
Amidst the complexity of humanity feeling lost after witnessing the killing of nearly 30,000 innocent civilians, the collective chants and demands of a free Palestine from over 400,000 people on Saturday provided a glimmer of hope for Palestinians and supporters worldwide.
Gratitude is extended to AMP and ICNA for their vital roles in making this impactful campaign possible along with our generous sponsors: Zakat Foundation, Zakat Chicago, Mecca Center, OPPC, Mosque Foundation, Islamic Center of Wheaton, and Muslim Education Center.
May the tireless efforts of the community be rewarded by Allah swt, and may the people of Palestine get the liberation they deserve in this lifetime, inshallah.