This year's event is headlined by three speakers with testimonies about Gaza's humanitarian disaster, U.S. policy, and the international mobilization to break and end the siege:
--Bill Fletcher Jr., columnist with BlackCommentator.com and senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, will offer a searing political critique of the intentionally-provoked "unnatural disaster" that afflicts Gazans.
--Medea Benjamin, cofounder of both CodePINK and the international human rights organization Global Exchange, will speak about her experiences as an organizer and participant in the December, 2009 Gaza Freedom March.
--Lara Elborno, a Palestinian-American law student who participated in the Gaza Freedom March, will share her perspective on the March and discuss strategies activists can pursue to promote a just resolution to the conflict.
The American Friends Service Committee says "The siege of Gaza, imposed by Israel after Operation Cast Lead, is an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe for Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants, half of whom are children. The war-ravaged territory, already impoverished by sanctions and blockades imposed in 2007, has been denied the materials to rebuild after the devastating bombardment and invasion suffered during Israel's assault, over a year ago. Since then, the governments of Israel and Egypt have ignored calls by the United Nations and over 80 humanitarian and international human rights agencies to allow building materials, foodstuffs, and medical equipment into Gaza.
"The Ninth Annual Walk for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine is dedicated to the people of Gaza, their resiliency, and their right to basic human freedoms. We stand determined to keep the plight of the Gazans before the public and to highlight the complicity of the U.S. government in perpetuating the siege. In the absence of diplomatic action and relief from their governments, courageous and determined individuals around the world have banded together in the spirit of the Berlin Airlift to develop alternative lifelines to the beleaguered Gazans. The Walk celebrates the accomplishments of the Jewish Fast for Gaza, Gaza Freedom March, Viva Palestina, Free Gaza Movement, and other international solidarity activists working in support of Gaza's suffering population."
Co-sponsoring organizations (list in formation): American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee • American Friends Service Committee • Arab-Jewish Partnership for Peace and Justice in the Middle East • Chicago Area CodePINK • Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy • Chicagoans Against Apartheid in Palestine • End the Occupation, Northern Illinois • Episcopal Peace Fellowship • Friends of Sabeel North America • Jewish Voice for Peace – Chicago • Middle East Task Force of the Chicago Presbytery • Network of Arab American Professionals - Chicago Chapter • St. Giles Family Mass Action for Justice Committee • Tikkun
Recorded Sunday, May 16, 2010 at First United Methodist Church (Downers Grove).