On April 10, 2022, Connecting With Humanity hosted a panel capturing the works and advocacy of five activists. Throughout the forum, we discussed issues such as the Palestinian struggle, Native American representation, the ongoing Kashmir Crisis, and the ways in which students can make an impact. Bringing together over 40 people, the panel engaged a worldwide audience. Our thorough moderators opened the conversation by asking each panelist about their respective fields of advocacy. Notably, Mohamad Habehh, the Director of Development for American Muslims for Palestine, described the history of Palestine's military occupation and oppression. He expressed the power of the youth-led movement and Gen Z's reaction to the atrocities in Palestine. Finally, he gave insight into how Israel is an Apartheid state. In the middle, Ava Edwards, a student at WWP High School South, eloquently recited a poem about the obstruction of indigenous land. The moving poem highlighted the themes of ignorance and assimilation that permeated the colonization period of America and other indigenous lands. Then, we returned to the panelist discussion, where Nouf Bazaz delineated the mental health crisis in Kashmir. Using her expertise in mental health, she moved away from conventional psychology, expressing a need for Kashmir safety and knowledge about the “sequence of incidents generationally.” Of course, she emphasizes that ending the Indian occupation in Kashmir would be a huge help to mental health.
Meanwhile, Jaike Spotted Wolf quantified that Native Americans have severely less WIFI access, clean water, and sanitation compared to Americans. These safety disparities showed especially during the pandemic, as Native Americans had the highest death rate. Reuben Telushkin provided personal anecdotes about the intersection of his Black and Jewish Identity, connecting the Palestinian airstrikes to violence against Black individuals. He also elaborated on his political art and the often harsh expectations for artists that express pain through works.
During the Q&A, the event’s conclusion, educators and Jaike Spotted Wolf discussed how to improve curriculums as early as Kindergarten. The members of Connecting With Humanity were happy to see the panel's impact in shaping education to be more conscious of Native Americans.
For student and youth activists, some key steps our panelists stressed were:
Involvement in School Advocacy Clubs and Campaigns
Art as a Means of Expression and Initiative
Educating Others about True Indigenous Stories
Reading Books by Palestinian and other Indigenous Authors
Thank you so much to our panelists for their valuable contributions and our audience for their respectful demeanor. We hope to hold more informative panels and see a similar turnout at our Art Workshop on May 21, 2022. Register here!