For many of those who took to the streets on Nov. 4, however, neither a humanitarian pause nor a cease-fire gets to the heart of what they described as the long-term U.S.-sponsored oppression of the Palestinian people.
They likened the situation in Gaza to what indigenous people, Black people and working-class people have experienced in the U.S. and other parts of the world under neo-colonial governance.
“Congress is voting with our tax dollars to support an apartheid regime,” said Paul Pumphrey, a member of the Black Is Back Coalition.
On Nov. 4, the Black is Back Coalition conducted its 15th annual march on the White House, also in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
This march involved the African People’s Socialist Party (Uhuru Movement), Friends of the Congo, Black Alliance for Peace, Universal African People’s Organization, Black People’s Advancement and Defense Organization, and other organizations that recently launched a campaign focused on protecting anti-colonial free speech.
On Friday, coalition members gathered on the steps of Sankofa Video, Books & Cafe in Northwest to demand the return of land in the West Bank to Palestinians.
For Jacqueline Luqman, Palestinians’ troubles came long before last month. Last weekend, she spent much of her time criticizing Zionism, a movement for the establishment and protection of a Jewish nation.
Luqman, a member of Black Alliance for Peace, pointed out that the U.S. and other entities have allowed, and even been complicit in, Israel’s exploitation of the West Bank. The ongoing relationship, she said, helps the U.S. exert control on that region, similar to what it does in Africa via AFRICOM, and in Atlanta with “Cop City.”
“Israel exists with the support of the U.S. It once again brings us to a moment where we have to confront the reality of what Israel is, what it’s not and who the land belongs to,” Luqman said.
“What’s invalid is one group coming in that has never been there to say they’ve been there because a deity told them,” she added. “White supremacy is an ideology that props up the U.S. government and the Israeli government. The land of African people was stolen from us after surviving enslavement. Our struggle is against colonial forces and the white settler colonial project.”
The Black is Back Coalition hosted a series of events last weekend, the latest of which being a teach-in that took place on Sunday in Arlington, Virginia.
For hours, members of the Uhuru Movement heard from a litany of speakers — including reparations organizer Kamm Howard, Louisiana-based organizer Belinda Parker Brown, and former New York City council member Charles Barron — who weighed in on the Israel-Hamas conflict and its connection to the collective well-being of African people.
Omali Yeshitela, chairman of the Uhuru Movement who identifies as an African internationalist, set out to dispel any notion that Black people shouldn’t speak on what’s unfolding in Gaza.
“There has been some attempt to confuse this issue to say there’s a contradiction between supporting African liberation and the Palestinians’ movement,” Yeshitela said.
“You wouldn’t have America without white settler colonialism. It has to be liberation for Palestine and for Africa. Palestinian people are on the front lines, and it’s not just Israel, but the White House. We say y’all can’t [attack Palestinians] in our name. Israel cannot last without resources coming from the U.S.”
Other focuses of the Black is Back Coalition center around reparations, the release of U.S. political prisoners, and dropping federal charges levied against Yeshitela, Jesse Nevel and Penny Hess, indicted for their alleged collusion with Russia.
In his remarks, Pumphrey said the U.S. funds war at the expense of nonwhite and impoverished people.
“We need to be clear why we have cities that don’t have money to address affordable housing and healthcare,” said Pumphrey, co-founder and board member of Friends of the Congo, an organization dedicated to facilitating peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Why do we keep on supporting Democratic and Republican candidates in Congress, wasting our tax dollars,” he questioned. “This government is carrying out genocide against African people and we need to say enough is enough.”