AMP Mourns the Passing of Fearless Activist Bassem Masri
(St. Louis, MO 11/29/2018)—On behalf of the American Muslims for Palestine Board of Directors, chapter leaders, and staff, we convey our deepest condolences to the family and community of fearless Palestinian-American grassroots activist and member of the AMP-Missouri Chapter, Bassem Masri. We belong to Allah and to Him we shall return إِنَّا لِلّهِ وَإِنَّـا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ.
Bassem passed away on Tuesday at the young age of 31 after suffering a heart attack. For years, he was most known for his passionate activism for justice in Palestine and for racial justice here in the U.S. An active protester in Ferguson, he live-streamed the demonstrations against police brutality and the murder of Michael Brown. Since yesterday, tributes and condolences from prominent journalists and activists across the justice movement have poured in on social media, with many highlighting Bassem’s unapologetic beliefs and immense kindness toward others.
“Masri was the Palestinian voice on the black table and the black voice on the Palestinian table. He connected the two struggles,” said AMP-Missouri Chapter leader, Muath Salameh. On Facebook, a family member described him as, “A gentleman who was fierce when he faced injustice. In his short life he did as much if not more to unit the fight for black liberation and Palestinian liberation. We ask everyone to pray and make duaa for Bassem and his family. May Allah accept his sacrifices for justice and overlook his flaws and mistakes.”
A longtime Palestine activist in St. Louis, Bassem was active in the creation of the AMP-Missouri Chapter earlier this year and was a strong voice on behalf of Palestinians at the recent Presbyterian General Assembly, where members voted on resolutions in support of Palestinian human rights. “Every time we had a meeting, Bassem would find a way to be there. Since he didn’t have a car, he would sometimes ride on a bus for up to two hours just to make sure he was present,” Salameh added.
One of AMP-Missouri’s flagship projects is to support AMP’s Annual Palestine Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. AMP-Missouri was officially formed following its leaders' attendance of this legislative advocacy program, and the chapter was eager to continue its civic engagement work. In fact, Bassem had already announced his candidacy in the 2020 election for state representative at the Missouri House of Representatives and was hoping to “inspire a generation of Palestinians to get involved in government.”
AMP-Missouri is heartbroken that Bassem will not be able to fulfill his goal of attending Palestine Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill or run for office. To honor his legacy, Bassem’s family, along with the AMP-Missouri chapter, is establishing The Bassem Masri Memorial Fund for Justice. The goal is to raise $20,000 in the coming days to sponsor 31 Palestine advocates—one for each year of Bassem’s life—to attend AMP’s 5th Annual Palestine Advocacy Day & Training on April 5-8, 2019. And, because Bassem was equally passionate about black liberation, the fund will contribute to Hands Up United, an organization that Bassem personally worked with whose vital work is to combat state-sanctioned violence against people of color.
“Bassem was a social justice warrior committed to Black liberation and freedom for Palestinians,” said Sandra Tamari with the Adalah Justice Project and The St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee. “His work in Ferguson was an inspiration to me and so many Palestinians. Supporting the movement for Palestinian rights and the work of Hands Up United is a fitting tribute to Bassem's life and legacy.”
Rev. Darryl Gray, a veteran of the civil rights movement, remembered Bassem for his social justice activism. “Without hesitation, it was an honor being in the presence of this young warrior. I was inspired by his courage and commitment to human justice. It is my prayer that his work will continue to resonate through those of us who benefited by his light," he said.
AMP-Missouri Chapter member Neveen Ayesh also paid tribute to Bassem and believes that investing in civic engagement and justice work will best honor his memory. “He and I spoke often of our political interests and how we both wanted to pursue positions in office in the near future. I am confident when I say that, had he been given the life and opportunity, he would’ve contributed so many great things to St. Louis society and outside of it. May he rest in peace and power.”
From Ferguson to Palestine, Bassem’s work and legacy embodied the struggle for justice and equality for all.
Help continue Bassem Masri's legacy by donating to The Bassem Masri Memorial Fund for Justice!