Historic People's Conference for Palestine Brings Thousands to Detroit

Photo: General Secretary and co-founder of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouti addresses the opening of the conference

Historic People's Conference for Palestine Brings Thousands to Detroit

The movement for a free Palestine took a historic step forward with a national convening in Detroit last weekend that brought thousands together for the People's Conference for Palestine! The huge gathering concluded with a call to action: a national march to surround the White House on Saturday, June 8!

For three days, from May 24-26, activists discussed the key issues facing the movement and renewed their commitment to building the struggle for the long term. Attendees traveled from across the country, and also included a large number of participants from the local Arab American community. 

Watch the livestream of the conference from BreakThrough News

As support for Palestine in the United States surges to never-before-seen levels, this conference was a crucial opportunity to build unity and a shared perspective for the fight ahead. The last eight months of non-stop mobilizations have been full of important lessons, new ideas and possibilities that activists across the country had the opportunity to share with one another.

Photo: Crowd in the main hall of the conference applauds plenary speakers

Every part of society is an arena to raise our voices for Palestine. Throughout the weekend, programming focused on the student movement, the role of labor unions, the situation in both higher and K-12 education, electoral politics and the Biden administration, and the importance of art and culture as a site of struggle against apartheid. The program also had deep educational value as experts discussed the history of the struggle for Palestinian liberation and the broader context of the fight against colonialism and imperialism. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib spoke at the conference, powerfully condemning the Biden administration’s enabling of the genocide in Gaza.

Photo: Crowd in the main hall of the conference

Over 3,600 people attended the conference, which was endorsed by over 450 organizations. The convening organizations represented a wide range of groups that have played key roles in the mass movement that has emerged since October 7: Palestinian Youth Movement, National Students for Justice in Palestine, The People’s Forum, Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, The U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), ANSWER Coalition, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, International Jewish Anti Zionist network, Writers Against the War on Gaza, Healthcare Workers for Palestine, Palestinian Feminist Collective, Palestine Popular University, Palestinian American Women’s Association, Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), and the National Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression. 

Photo: Sana' Daqqa, journalist and wife of martyred political prisoner Walid Daqqa, and their daughter Milad welcomed to the conference  

The conference was honored to host key note speaker Sana’ Daqqa, Palestinian journalist and wife of martyred political prisoner Walid Daqqa. Sana’ attended the conference with her daughter Milad, and explained the central importance of the Prisoners’ struggle to the overall cause of Palestinian liberation. Her courageous example inspired attendees to continue the fight.

Over 9,000 Palestinians are held in Israeli prisons. They are routinely subjected to torture and extreme neglect, enduring terrible conditions but with their determination unbroken. The conference raised the demand for the immediate freedom of all Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The conference was a success despite blatant efforts at censorship. Speakers at the conference were denied visas or had their processes arbitrarily stalled by U.S. authorities. The White House fears the message of this powerful movement, but nothing can stop the people from speaking out for Palestine!

Photo: Sanaa Moussa -- a Palestinian vocalist, composer and researcher in Palestinian folk music -- performs as part of the conference's cultural program

As the conference took place, the Israeli regime intensified their genocidal assault on Gaza. The horrific massacre of at least 45 Palestinians in an inferno caused by Israeli bombing of a refugee camp in Rafah enraged those present at the conference and further deepened our commitment to struggle day-in and day-out to end the genocide. Participants immediately began planning emergency actions, and committed to converging in DC in a massive show of opposition to the war criminal Joe Biden on June 8 as we surround the White House with the people's red line!

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