Our RVC Block Party has been postponed to fall 2024.

An open letter to our community

The question of equity and justice in Palestine and Israel

Beloved community,

We cry and grieve with our communities who are impacted by the ongoing violence in Gaza. We send love to those of us in our communities who are directly impacted. But decrying violence and lamenting innocent lives lost is not enough at this moment.

If you, like us, believe in justice and liberation for all, then join us in naming what is happening. We’re witnessing a genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza by the state of Israel. Furthermore, Israel’s oppression of Palestinians is the root cause of the violence happening for both peoples now. We ask you to stand with Palestinians in their liberation struggle.

For those just starting to learn about this, please understand this has been going on for 75 years. And there has been international consensus on condemning Israel’s actions. In 2020 Amnesty International announced in a comprehensive report that Israel is an apartheid state. This August before the violence erupted, 1,500 academics within Israel, the U.S., and beyond published an open letter stating, “There can be no democracy for Jews in Israel as long as Palestinians live under a regime of apartheid.”

What is astonishing is the one-sided response of U.S. politicians, media, and military in telling a narrative of safety and self-determination for Israel, exclusively at the expense of the Palestinians. We have seen that same rhetoric weaponized to justify the imprisonment, exploitation, and devaluing of Black and Brown lives. Not only is one narrative emphasized, but it is deceptive, inequitable, and unjust.

Here at RVC, equity – shifting power and resources towards communities most affected by injustice – is a core value. As an organization led by people of color, we call out the root cause underlying the oppression occurring in Palestine and what our own communities experience: white supremacy and colonialism. We have explicitly denounced systems of white supremacy in the past, and now is no different.

We’re taking a stand because of our sense of justice and our values. RVC was founded upon a vision of right to self-determination for our communities, and we extend that vision to our global community. 

An atmosphere of oppressive silence

As an organization, we are always practicing unpacking our internalized white supremacy. We feel the risk in speaking out when it’s much safer to stay silent in this moment. There is already a rise in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim behavior, and we’re observing a greater sense of vigilance amongst our staff and community to protect ourselves. 

But fear is how we become complicit in the violent oppression of millions of people. This fear is how, through history, bystanders stood by as unspeakable horrors unfolded. We know that, when we don’t question our own biases, it’s easy to see through the lens of the oppressor, who holds the power and money to threaten the safety and security of our communities unless we fall into line. We are intimately familiar with how systems built on colonization rely on divide-and-conquer strategies to stay in power; it is in moments like these that we must rally together.

There will be those in our supporter community who won’t see the connections between us speaking out against settler-colonial violence and our mission. But the connections are clear and our values demand that we speak up. 

We ask our colleagues in the nonprofit sector, what have you learned about equity and justice in the last few years that can be applied in this situation? And when is enough, enough?

Use your voice and power to reject the false narratives. Join us in standing in solidarity with Palestine.

In love and community,

RVC staff

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