500 Strong Turn Out for Largest Palestine Advocacy Day Yet!
(WASHINGTON, D.C. 4/9/2019)—We are thrilled to share that this year's Palestine Advocacy Day & Training proved to be our most successful yet! Doubling our numbers from last year, we had over 500 participants of all backgrounds and faiths join us in Washington, D.C., representing 32 states, and meeting with the offices of 191 Members of Congress!
This year was unique for us following the historic election of the first two Muslim Congresswomen. Rep. Rashida Tlaib addressed our delegation and once again emphasized the need to support interconnected struggles from Palestinian human rights to the rights of immigrants and black communities in the U.S.
The main issues our delegation presented to lawmakers were: 1) Supporting a bill in defense of Palestinian children's rights 2) Opposing bills that violate the constitutional right to boycott for Palestinian rights, and 3) Supporting humanitarian aid and human rights for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
Over the weekend, participants heard from elected state representatives, policy and civic engagement experts on the basics of government, how to lobby and craft an effective message, and the necessity of voting and supporting—or even leading—campaigns. Our training program had two tracks for both new and returning advocates, and included a diverse panel of speakers in the two day training. Advocates heard from current staffers on the Hill; from grassroots organizers who pushed for local resolutions and organized municipal campaigns in support of Palestinain human rights; and from a speaker who helped turn advocacy for Palestinian children into a congressional policy issue.
AMP’s Palestine Advocacy Day & Training program has already proven to be one of our most successful initiatives, with participants of all ages expressing their gratitude and support for the opportunity to bring Palestine to the halls of Congress.
Wassim Kanaan, AMP-NJ Chapter's Government Relations Director, attended with a delegation from New Jersey and presented on the fundamentals of government and lobbying. "The community working for justice in Palestine is strong and ready to work. PAD has prepared me to go home and work in-district, and make sure that our voices are counted when it comes to the conversation in Palestine," he said.
Dr. Osama Abuirshaid, AMP’s executive director, emphasized the importance of building a large base of Palestine advocates in the U.S., “For the fifth consecutive year, we held our flagship program, Palestine Advocacy Day & Training here in Washington, D.C. Beginning with fewer than two dozen advocates in 2015, the number of participants has steadily grown to the hundreds who joined us this year. But these results did not happen overnight; they are the product of AMP’s recognition of the importance of this work and the significant investment of our time and resources in it."
"A great amount of credit must also go to our staff, chapter leaders, and volunteers, whose tireless efforts continue to make this project a success. But, more importantly, the success is built on the dedication of our community and allies to the Palestinian cause. Indeed, without vanguards, there is no justice. Without freedom fighters, there is no freedom. Without hard work, there is no change. The support of both our participants and donors is critical in this movement for change, and we are grateful for everyone organizing and contributing to the effort to shift U.S. policy on Palestine," he added.
While we are excited and gratified to have completed another successful day of advocacy, we know that our meetings in Congress are the beginning of the road to policy reform, not the end. We urge all of you as participants and supporters of AMP to continue the dialogue with your representatives. Be sure to schedule meetings locally in your districts with your state and federal officials. Talk to them about the right to boycott, Palestinian human and children's rights, the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, or any issue that you care about or may affect you directly.
For those who weren’t able to attend this year or those who would like to return, we will be sure to update you soon with a “Save the Date” for Palestine Advocacy Day & Training 2020. Help us meet our goal to assemble a delegation of 1000 people next year!
Finally, we would like to thank the organizers and the many volunteers, our speakers and participants who made the journey to Washington, D.C. and made this event a huge success. We also want to thank our generous donors for contributing to this vital and empowering program, and to all who helped give a voice to the Palestinian people. We are so proud of and thankful for your efforts.