Advocating for Palestine: An Interview with Rania, Community Organizer |

Advocating for Palestine: An Interview with Rania, Community Organizer

In a world where injustice often seems insurmountable, there are individuals like Rania, a 27-year-old Palestinian community organizer from Chicago, who refuse to remain silent. Rania's journey with the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) began in 2017, driven by a profound sense of duty to her people and a commitment to justice. In a recent interview, she shared insights into her role, motivations, challenges, and the transformative power of advocacy and protest.

Role at USPCN

Rania's role within USPCN is multifaceted. As a community organizer, she is a volunteer who dedicates her time and energy on issues that impact vulnerable communities. For her, this work is not just about addressing immediate concerns; it's about fostering social reform and nurturing new leaders within marginalized communities.

Rania explains, "We identify problems that affect vulnerable communities, develop a narrative and shared solutions to the problem, create action plans, build relationships and educate people, organize, mobilize, foster social reform, and hopefully develop new leadership."

Choosing USPCN

Amidst a plethora of organizations advocating for Palestine, Rania's decision to join USPCN was guided by admiration for their humility, discipline, and genuine commitment to the cause. She highlights USPCN's unwavering dedication to mobilizing communities, both locally and globally, in pursuit of self-determination and liberation.

Reflecting on her choice, Rania shares, "I had known about USPCN for a couple of years prior to joining ... They work hard to mobilize the masses and liberate the people. USPCN believes in self-determination of people all across the globe and here at home."

Motivations for Advocacy

Rania's advocacy for Palestinian rights is deeply personal. Growing up with the privilege of free speech in the United States, she keenly felt the contrast to the oppression faced by her family members living in displacement in Palestine. Witnessing the silencing of dissent under Israeli occupation fueled her sense of obligation to speak out..

"I felt the obligation to fight for their rights ... Here in the United States, we have a different access and ability to free speech and protest," Rania articulates. "We are not necessarily safe, but it's a different reality."

Power of Advocacy and Protest

According to Rania, advocacy and protest serve as vital tools for mobilizing communities, raising awareness, and pressuring governments to act. By disrupting the status quo and amplifying marginalized voices, protesters challenge complicity and demand accountability. Rania believes that these collective efforts are instrumental in affecting positive change for Palestinians, as evidenced by the increasing global solidarity and condemnation of Israeli apartheid.

"Protest is one tool in organizing but it is important because it consists of mobilizing communities. In our protest, we are bringing awareness about the situation and educating those who see us," Rania emphasizes.

Challenges and Pushback

Organizing is not without its setbacks, acknowledges Rania. Despite facing resistance and occasional defeats, she emphasizes the importance of resilience and solidarity in overcoming obstacles. Each setback is an opportunity to regroup, reevaluate, and continue the fight for justice.

"The reality of organizing is that there are little wins and there are losses as well. You have to regroup, rebrief with your comrades, and keep moving on," Rania explains.

Pressuring Governments for Change

USPCN's advocacy efforts extend beyond grassroots mobilization to holding elected officials accountable for their actions. By challenging politicians' rhetoric and exposing their hypocrisy, activists like Rania compel policymakers to confront uncomfortable truths and reconsider their support for oppressive regimes.

"USPCN has played a pivotal role in pressuring our elected officials and politicians by sending the message that they cannot continue to live their lives as normal," Rania states.

Supporting the Movement

For Rania, support for the Palestinian cause goes beyond mere solidarity; it requires active engagement and amplification of marginalized voices. Whether through financial contributions, creative collaboration, or grassroots organizing, individuals can play a crucial role in challenging systemic oppression.

Rania urges, "Uplift the movement, uplift the demands of the movement, don't allow for the media and government to dehumanize our people and people of color, uplift our truth, support our movement."

In a world where silence is complicity, each voice raised in solidarity brings us one step closer to a future defined by justice, equality, and freedom for all. As Rania eloquently reminds, "Don't stop talking about Palestine."

Photo Caption: The U.S. Palestinian Community Network and The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine jointly led a massive demonstration with thousands of people in the streets of Chicago on April 21, 2024.  

Miriam Mohamed is a mother to seven children and a granny to two cats!  She loves trying new things and learning cool facts. She has taught in an Islamic school setting, has experience assisting children with special needs, and enjoys volunteering and being a part of the community. Miriam lives in Chicago with her beautiful flowering cherry tree and big family.

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