Remembering Gaza and Rachel on her 38th birthday, a message from Cindy Corrie

APRIL 10 – Remembering Gaza and Rachel – on her 38th birthday

Today is my daughter Rachel Corrie’s 38th birthday. In Olympia, Washington, where she grew up, we will mark the occasion with a gathering to inaugurate our Rachel Corrie Foundation (RCF) Gaza Committee. Rachel was killed in Rafah, Gaza, March 16, 2003, as she engaged in nonviolent direct action to challenge mass demolitions of Palestinian homes by the Israeli military. In the intervening years, our family, our community, and the Rachel Corrie Foundation have connected with Gaza in different ways. We have partnered with others throughout the U.S. and world who have made  those connections, as well.

There have been delegation trips to the Gaza Strip to meet with families Rachel  knew and organizations with which she worked. RCF programs have provided for a Gaza student to study at The Evergreen State College, for a recipient of our Leadership Studies Fellowship to learn and to teach in our community, and for speakers from Gaza to share their stories firsthand in the U.S. The Olympia-Rafah Solidarity  Mural Project in downtown Olympia has for many years been a visible reminder of our relationship, and at this month’s Olympia Arts Walk on April 28th will feature work from Gaza  artists and others who have contributed to creating the mural and making the connections. RCF Gaza projects have supported the grassroots efforts and imagination of Rachel’s Gaza friends and of Gaza youth who continue to find inspiration and hope in her story. The Gaza Sport Initiative, Remedial Education Project for Learning Disabled Children, and artistic and cultural youth performances through the Palestinian Cultural Palace are current efforts that keep the connections strong.

As we in the U.S. deal with our own challenges, and as terrible conflict continues and worsens in other parts of the Middle East and world, at the Rachel Corrie Foundation we feel a strong need to make sure Gaza is remembered. The people there continue to live with enormous hardship, under blockade and siege, with a failed economy, and with ever increasing threats to their health and safety.

Rachel wrote to me in 2003, “I do think that it’s important to recognize all the zillions of small things we can do for change…small revolutionary things.” Remembering her words, I thank those of you who have reached out to us this month with thoughtful messages and taken your own actions in support of the people of Gaza. Thank you, too, for the critical financial support you’ve sent for our RCF Gaza projects and efforts. We look forward to including you in the work of our new Gaza Committee. Our staff identified a fundraising goal of $15,000 for this period in order to support our current projects for youth and families in Gaza. Through your generosity, we are nearly 2/3 the way there! If you haven’t yet donated, and are able to do so, your support for Gaza on Rachel’s birthday will mean a great deal to all of us and to our colleagues in Gaza.

Many thanks,
Cindy Corrie

Rachel Corrie Foundation For Peace and Justice

Remembering Rachel Corrie

Today marks the 8th anniversary of the death of Rachel Corrie. Rachel Corrie was a 23-year-old American peace activist from Olympia, Washington, who was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer on 16 March 2003, while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition.

Details of the incident can be found here.

The Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice was established by members of Rachel’s family and community to continue the kind of work that she began and hoped to accomplish.

The following is an anniversary message from the founders of the foundation, Rachel’s parents Cindy & Craig Corrie:

Rachel Corrie’s Stand in Gaza

Wednesday, March 16th, we mark the eighth anniversary of Rachel Corrie’s stand in Rafah to protect the home of a Gazan family and for the right of all Palestinians to be free of occupation.

Here in Rachel’s hometown, we will mark the day with an event emphasizing community-building, education, and action – all key to Rachel’s organizing here and beyond. We will continue a tradition of sharing a potluck meal, music, and spoken word and will hear from Cindy and Craig Corrie about the continuing civil trial in Israel in Rachel’s case. We will focus on our friends in Gaza who, according to the The UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) continue to suffer death, injury, and severe restriction on imports, exports, and freedom of movement. We will continue our demands for an end to the collective punishment of the 1.7 million residents
of Gaza and to the blockade and siege.

See the OCHA Report here

We will, also, remember and salute the courageous activists whose lives have been claimed this past year in nonviolent actions against Israeli policies or who have found themselves in prison because of their nonviolent resistance. They are American, Palestinian, Turkish, Israeli, and from elsewhere. In keeping with our memory of Rachel, we will this March 16th continue to listen to the voices of young people as they struggle worldwide to assert their visions for a democratic, free, and peaceful future; and we will call on U.S. officials to listen, too, and to be consistent in their demands that foreign governments and militaries be accountable for their actions and respect the right of people to assemble and protest.

We have heard from many across the U.S. and world who plan commemorative events. We thank all who join us in remembering Rachel and ask that you focus, too, on the others who have stood and been struck down, those imprisoned for their nonviolent resistance, those who carry on the work, and those in Gaza for whom Rachel took
her stand. With events this week and beyond that keep compassion, humility, and love at their core, we will all honor Rachel’s commitment and spirit.

Watch Cindy & Craig Corrie’s March 16, 2011 Statement to Gaza

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=UK8Z3i3aTq4&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=UK8Z3i3aTq4&amp;feature</a>

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=O3JI-axaRF4&amp;feature">http://youtube.com/watch?v=O3JI-axaRF4&amp;feature</a>

http://rachel-corrie.com/
http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/