As Olympia mobilizes in support of Bryson Chaplin & Andre Thompson and raises the banner of Black Lives Matter, it is important to pay tribute to the Black organizers and cultural workers who developed this national movement on the frontlines of white supremacy. Many thanks to Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi & Alicia Garza for your work and vision of another world. Read more about about the “Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatterMovement” from Alicia Garza.
Statement From Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”- Paulo Freire
The Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project aims to make visible the connections between the struggle for self-determination in Palestine, and the struggle for self-determination in our communities. The recent shooting of Bryson and Andre Chaplin lay bare the role of the Olympia Police Department as an institution with the power to use excessive and lethal force against Black lives. Further, the previous experiences of Officer Ryan Donald as an Army police officer and as a U.S. Border Patrol agent on the U.S./Mexican border ask us to consider the institutionalized connections among U.S. imperialism, Israeli/U.S. settler-colonialism and increased militarism in our streets. We are forced to recognize the military industrial complex works to train and supply global warfare, which is a war abroad and at home.
Policing practices are founded in blocking the self-determination of communities of color and maintaining the structures of white supremacy and a violent occupation as the status quo. The Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project is committed to supporting and creating space for the ongoing process of movement building within our community to actively confront racism and hold institutions that serve white supremacy accountable. There is a clear need for community oversight of these institutions and more diligent police accountability.
As solidarity with Palestine demands recognition that Palestinian lives matter, the Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project is determined to recognize that Black Lives Matter here in Olympia, and everywhere.
The MAIA Mural Brigade (Maia means Water in Arabic), organized by Break the Silence Mural and Arts Project, brings together a national team that includes: activists, trauma therapists, muralists, filmmakers, The ESTRIA Foundation’s Water Writes Project and Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project and Afaq Jadeeda (New Horizons) to create collaborative murals with Palestinian youth and artists. The murals are located at schools in the Gaza Strip where water purification systems installed by the Middle East Children’s Alliance are providing clean drinking water to 30,000 children.
The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), Berkeley CA, has worked for 25 years to provide on-the-ground humanitarian aid to children in the Middle East. MECA’s MAIA Project was launched in response to a vote by the Student Parliament at the UN Boys’ School in Bureij Refugee Camp, Gaza. The students were given the opportunity to choose one thing they most wanted for their school: They chose to have clean drinking water. The water crisis in Palestine continues to worsen particularly in Gaza where desalination plants were bombed in Israel’s Operation Cast Lead assault in 2008/2009.
Working in partnership with community organizations in Gaza MECA’s MAIA Project has provided clean water to 14 large UN schools in Palestinian refugee camps and to 13 kindergartens in refugee camps, towns, and villages. The systems are funded by grassroots organizing efforts in the USA.
|Beit Hanoun Kindergarten, Funded by Alice Walker|
|New Gaza School for Boys, Gaza City|
|Students from UNRWA Summer Camps|
|Rachel Corrie Kindergarten, Rafah|
To See more photos: Click-MAIA MURAL