March 16 Events in Olympia, WA and in Rome, Italy.

http://www.usacbi.org/

On January 17, 2014 the Rachel Corrie Foundation celebrated the conclusion of the Olympia portion of it’s first Leadership Studies Fellowship program. Visiting fellow, Anees Mansour traveled from Gaza to spend nearly three months with the foundation sharing with and learning from local nonprofit organizations. As the program drew to a close, friends gathered to share their memories of their time with Anees and to wish him luck in the future.

On Tuesday, December 10th, International Human Rights Day, we hosted a joyous evening in Olympia. Guest speaker, Linda Bevis provided an authoritative presentation on human rights violations suffered by Palestinians living under occupation and documented by the US Department of State, as well as her own journey becoming an advocate for the rights of all beings and creatures.  Thanks to Linda and to our honored guests Anees Mansour (RCF Leadership Studies Fellow from Rafah, Gaza) and Eva Bartlett (long-term ISM activist in Gaza) for joining the festivities. And special appreciation to Bayou on BayBevy, and the Women’s Club of Olympia for providing amazing food, music, and a festive space for all to enjoy! 

On Sunday, October 3, 2013, Laila El-Haddad, co-author of The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey came to Olympia for a cooking demo at The Flaming Eggplant, on TESC campus. She taught approximately 30 people to make Dagga—which was enjoyed by all! 

These photos are from the 2013 Rachel Corrie Ramadan Football Tournament in Gaza. Please visit http://www.gazalife.org/ for full details on this amazing annual event. 

On October 23, 2013 a memorial to Rachel Corrie was placed at The Evergreen State College. The piece created by international artist and Evergreen graduate Ross Matteson and entitled “Reflecting on Peace and Justice” is a bronze and polished steel representation of a dove on the tip of a pyramid. It was a very moving and powerful event. If you couldn’t be there, you are in luck! You can watch a video of the event, and read Cindy Corrie and Ross Matteson’s remarks from that day.

Thank you Bob Iyall for taking such beautiful pictures!

At the Olympia Fall Arts Walk this year, we exhibited photography from the Jenin Freedom Theater in the West Bank, Palestine. The exhibit is a showcase for young, aspiring photographers who have been working on individual photography projects during a photography workshop led by Sarah Tuck, photographer and photo teacher at The Freedom Theatre.

Students from Jenin city, Jenin Refugee Camp, and neighboring villages came together for this workshop at The Freedom Theatre to learn how to use the camera as a tool for telling stories. Students created a variety of personal story projects that include Bedouin travelers, first trips inside of Israel, following prisoners releases, as well as many others.

Each photographer had a series of 6 to 10 images based on a story and was truly moving to all who stopped to watch!

On June 15th we joined with Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights- UW (SUPER-UW) to educate the UW community about this year’s commencement speaker, Jon Huntsman—2012 Republican Presidential candidate hopeful and board member of Caterpillar. Read our open letter to Mr. Huntsman & graduates here, and see more pictures of graduates telling CAT to get out of Palestine!  Congratulations to all the graduates, and to SUPER-UW for organizing this wonderful event— so successful that KIRO-7 reported on the protest!  Read a report by KIRO-7 here, and an article in Mondoweiss.  

On Monday, May 13th we displayed Palestine: Remembering Al-Nakba, an installation of over 100 small tents inscribed with the names and details of Palestinian villages destroyed in 1948. The visiting display, created by Palestine Solidarity Committee in Seattle, commemorates and protests the events of 1947-9, when two-thirds of the Palestinian people were forcibly displaced and over 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed. Our Palestinian/American neighbors joined us at the display to informally share their own and their family stories.

 

May 15th marks 65 years since the Nakba (Arabic for “Catastrophe”) when 750,000 Palestinians were dispossessed, forced into exile, and ethnically cleansed from their homes as the State of Israel was being created in 1948. Today, Palestinians face an ongoing Nakba as Israel continues to deny the right of return to Palestinians guaranteed in UN Resolution 194, illegally colonizes Palestinian land, and imposes a brutal military occupation in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Palestinians are now one of the largest and longest-suffering refugee populations in the world.

We love to participate in the annual Olympia Spring Arts Walk, held on April 26th and 27th.  Our exhibit, ”River of Life: Art Under Occupation,” showcased drawings by Gaza physicians challenged by hospitals overcrowded with psychosomatic patients.  The doctors’ art was created in a training session in Gaza conducted by Sonja Wentz, RCF board member and local mental health therapist.   In a video by RCF intern Malaika Halley that accompanied the exhibit, Sonja provided context for the art and the situations faced by the Gaza physicians eager to have their stories shared. We also highlighted the Olympia Rafah Solidarity Mural Project, a project co-produced by Break the Silence Mural and Arts Project and the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, which served as the backdrop to our booth.