(Caption: Ahmad Abuznaid (left) pictured in conversation with Mitchell Esajas (right) of the New Urban Collective)
April 19-26, IFOR brought the Palestinian-American community organizer, lawyer and activist, Ahmad Abuznaid, to the Netherlands and Belgium for a little over a week of events, meetings and exchanges. Ahmad joins, Anthony Grimes, Derecka Purnell and Nyle Fort as the fourth organizer from the United States who has participated in the project. Ahmad serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Dream Defenders, an organization born in response to the killing of the unarmed American teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012. The Dream Defenders describe themselves as “an uprising of communities in struggle, shifting culture through transformational organizing.” Ahmad was able to offer his insights from his experience of organizing and share stories about the work that the Dream Defenders have done in the State of Florida, and throughout the United States. He also spoke about his experience as a Palestinian, the struggle for freedom in Palestine and the importance of global solidarity. As a Palestinian American working within the Black Live Matters movement, Ahmad was able to talk from experience with diverse groups of people about the politics of identity, organizing at the intersections, and the importance of building coalitions with likeminded people in the struggle for more just and humane societies.
Ahmad was hosted in the Netherlands by the Show Your Struggle Project, which is the Dutch rendition of the Beloved Communities Project launched by Kerk en Vrede. He was hosted in Belgium by Agir Pour La Paix. We would like to thank the organizations who partnered to organize events for Ahmad: De Bildung Akadamie, the New Urban Collective, the University of Colour, De Jonge Democraten, Ettaouhid, student association Basis and Argan.
May 21 through 30, the veteran of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, Community leader and Islamic Scholar Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons will be the fourth guest organizer to participate in the Beloved Communities Project.