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People Of Color Groups Gather to Stand In Solidarity With Arab Americans and to Mourn the East Coast Dead


Source  :  Ella Baker Center for Human Rights


People Of Color Groups Gather to Stand In Solidarity With Arab Americans and to Mourn the East Coast Dead

(OAKLAND) Community-based organizations led by people of color will hold a "Solidarity Gathering" and candle light vigil on Wednesday night to support the Arab American community, which is suffering from a tidal wave of bigotry in the wake of Tuesday's bombings in New York City and Washington, D.C.

The "Solidarity Gathering" will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12, 2001. The location will be Snow Park, at 19th and Harrison, in downtown Oakland. Snow Park is about three blocks from the 17th Street BART Station, near the lake.

The purpose of the gathering will be to give leaders from communities of color an opportunity to speak out in support of the Arab community, while condemning the attacks and mourning the dead.

Among the organizations endorsing this gathering are: the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Let's Get Free, Youth Force Coalition, JustAct, Bay Area PoliceWatch, Underground Railroad and STORM/Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement.

"Anti-Arab hostility is already reaching a fever pitch as pundits and common people alike rush to judgment that an Arab group is responsible for this tragedy," said Van Jones, national executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. "We fear that an atmosphere is being created that will result in official and street violence against Arab men, women and children."

"No matter who ultimately is to blame for these bombings, we cannot tolerate stereotypes and blanket attacks against any ethnic group," said Raquel of STORM. "And we especially don't want Asian-American, African-American, Latino or Native American communities getting pulled into a frenzy of hatred toward our sisters and brothers. We must stand together."

Though people of color in particular will be invited to speak at the gathering, but everyone is welcome.

For more information, please contact:
Robin Templeton, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights

Tina Bartolome, Underground Railroad



This statement represents the postion of STORM/Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement.


1. Oppose terrorism, and build people's power: We mourn the loss of life and the great pain endured by those who have suffered as a result of these attacks. Those of us who desire a world free from exploitation and oppression must rely on the consciousness, capacity and confidence of working class and oppressed people to carry out our own liberation. There are no shortcuts in this process. Acts of terrorism against civilian targets do not advance this process, but retard it. We oppose the use of
terror tactics - especially such tactics against civilian populations as destructive to the
fundamental aims of the liberation movement. We must organize our people to liberate themselves with the clarity of their own minds, the courage of their own hearts and the work of their own hands.

2. Oppose the narrowing or elimination of the people's democratic rights: The U.S. government must stop using the suffering of the victims of these attacks as an excuse to narrow and eliminate the people's democratic rights. We oppose any and all efforts to increase the funding and authority of U.S. police and intelligence agencies as a "solution" to this crisis. We express our disgust at the present attempts by the U.S. security and surveillance establishment to turn this tragedy into a cash-cow bonanza - or to use it to mask a cynical power grab. We oppose any efforts to wipe out the people's fragile and precious privacy rights; we oppose any efforts to curtail the
people's basic First Amendment rights to assemble, speak, publish, protest and organize free from government harassment and surveillance. We must now be extraordinarily vigilant against threats directed against the people - not from underground cells, but
from the highest levels of government.

3. Rely on global justice to deter future attacks:
The system, in the United States and worldwide, has continually denied peaceful, "legitimate" attempts by those seeking justice and freedom. Through its own reckless, violent and oppressive actions against poor people and people of color, the United States
government has fueled frustration, grief and outrage here and around the world. Suffering under the boot of poverty, people around the world are becoming more and more desperate. Neither police repression at home nor U.S. bombs abroad will ease this fundamental despair; instead, they will only continue this vicious cycle of frustration and violence. Ordinary people in the United States can best deter future attacks by insisting that the U.S. government abandon its oppressive role of keeping down workers and dominating poor nations around the world. Increasingly, safety at home will require justice abroad. Intensified police crackdowns at home and military savagery abroad are not the answer; the answer is justice. We must not allow the United States to respond with bombs for Third World people and continued support for repressive dictatorships and rapacious corporations. Instead, we demand that the US respond to this crisis with efforts to meet the legitimate demands of the majority of the human family.

4. Oppose racist, anti-Arab bigotry: The media is already feeding the frenzy of anti-Arab hysteria. All people and especially African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Latinas/os and Native Americans ?>must stand in solidarity with our Arab and Muslim
sisters and brothers.
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