Millions of lives depend on it.
“Co-Resistance Before Co-existence” Report Back
Guest post by Jade Brooks, JVP member from Durham, NC
[dropcaps type=’normal’ color=” background_color=” border_color=”]T[/dropcaps]his past weekend, I had the honor of attending Co-resistance Before Co-existence, the inaugural gathering of the Interfaith Network for Justice in Palestine (INJIP). Fifty five faith leaders, from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Native American, and Sikh traditions who are committed to working for justice in Palestine, convened at the Stony Point Retreat Center in New York to strategize and build a community of resistance based.
The gathering was co-planned in a year-long process led by JVP, with co-leadership from members of American Muslims for Palestine, the US Campaign to End the Occupation, Israel-Palestine Mission Network (of the Presbyterian Church-USA), Friends of Sabeel-North America, and Students for Justice in Palestine.
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It was a powerful and necessary weekend and one that I hope will only strengthen JVP’s orientation to interfaith and coalitional work going forward. There was an incredible plenary session the first night with three South Africans on reflections from the struggle to end apartheid on how to center the struggle, demands, tactics, and leadership of oppressed people, while organizing + disrupting those in power.
The next morning, during our opening circle, participants brought an important critique to the weekend: the lack of Black and indigenous people in the room. Going forward from that point, we challenged ourselves and each other to own and take seriously that intervention, agreeing with that truth and making space to address and assess how we did outreach and organized the weekend. We struggled (and will continue to struggle) on how to practice a true anti-racist organizing ethic, that is clear about who we want in the room and in leadership, and how we’re going to get there.
Workshops and plenaries throughout the weekend were fantastic: from getting nitty-gritty with the often problematic interfaith alliances many of us had participated in — and how to disrupt them — to strategizing how to interrupt faith-washing when it shows up in our movement, to sharing rituals and prayers from our different spiritual traditions.
Five priority work areas were identified to move the work forward: creating guiding principles and a structure for our network, coordinating a public launch for the network, strategizing a campaign focused on interrupting faithwashing, bringing in and following the leadership of Palestinians, and scheming a decolonial interfaith school.
The hashtag we came up with to summarize our work is #DecolonizeInterfaith! We left inspired, energized, and challenged to do this work together moving forward. Look for more info on INJIP soon + to join INJIP, click here.
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