Al Nahda created Salwa as a modest bread pantry to distribute pita to the community during the COVID pandemic. Since 2020 Salwa has grown into a successful free food service to those in need in Worth, Oak Lawn and adjacent neighborhoods. Salwa provides those facing food insecurity in our community with free healthy and balanced food packages bi-monthly. Many other food pantries provide services once a month or less, at Salwa we are dedicated to ensuring consistent healthy food for our families who need it!
Additionally Salwa creates community and strengthen’s our relations with all of our brothers and sisters accross the community by inviting participants to be involved in giving their time for our many other programs and serivces. Salwa works in tandem with our free clinic to provide comprehensive health services to our community at large! join us for our next community on the first saturday of March as a volunteer! You can register for the program at the al Nahda Center on distribution days!
The Year started strong with the Salwa program distribution on the first Saturday of the month as usual and on the 21st we hosted our vaccine drive through Salwa!
Our house of heritage and culture project is officially launched and seeking contributors looking to document their history and heritage for the community. Our new Documentation and memory preservation project from the House of Heritage and Culture program is concerned with documenting the Palestinian memory, preserving the Arab identity in the Diaspora, and linking the new generation to the homeland, language, and religion through many programs, courses, and workshops. The Renaissance Center is honored to have Mr. Omar Hamed, a historian and researcher in issues of history and heritage, joining the work team.
We hosted a town hall covering our Medical, Food Pantry, and Week-End School, programs attending town hall meeting with shawn Casten. Where we Distributed Packages of food close to 100 Families.
Al Nahda proudly launched our Arabi calligraphy course through the renaissance center with Qasem Noah Sartawi. see information for enrollment below!
Al Nahda Center also had come great collaborations this month hosting the USPCN event on mental in Gaza and the Chicago coalition for Palestine protest for Jenin.
The Jenin Massacre
Al Nahda is a proud organizing member of the Chicago Coalition for Palestine. The coalition is responsible for many of the protests for Palestine held in chicago. The coalition swiftly organized a protest and rally in solidarity with the strike marches held across Palestine in solidarity with Jenin.
The IOF raid on Jenin refugee camp was carried out on Thursday January 26th killing 9 Palestinians including one elderly woman and injuring 20 refugees. At 7am approximately 90 IOF shoulders entered the camp and opened fire on Palestinian civilians blockading their entry. Other IOF groups were stationed surrounding the camp in vehicles accompanied by bulldozers. These platoons targeted several structures while the ground troops pushed forward into the camp targeting civilians. One structure deliberately targeted by the bulldozers was commonly used as a community meeting house in the camp.
Anes Huwaisheh – a local Jenin correspondent – said the raid reminded him of the events of the 2002 massacre in Jenin during the second intifada.
“The sounds of bullets and gunfights were intense, and clouds of smoke covered the sky. The Israeli occupation cut off the electricity, the internet and the cell phone network during the storming. This shows that it was planned,” Huwaisheh saidWarah, L., & Al-Waara, A. (2023, January 26). Israel Raid in Jenin kills 9 in ‘Massacre.’ Middle East Eye.
President Abbas declared the raid a massacre and called for a day of mourning across the West Bank, requesting all flags be flown at half mast. Palestinian communities from 48 to the West Bank and Gaza rose up and went on strike in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Jenin and to honor the martyrs we lost.
All Photo Credits: Layla Zayed
When we gather to honor our martyrs it is important to acknowledge why Israel targets Jenin and what the consequences are for Jenin and Palestine after the dust settles. Raids like this destabilize cities in the West Bank, it prevents the community from organizing and building infrastructure which isolates them economically from the rest of the west bank. Israel target’s Jenin not because they have interest in settling the area but rather because they see Jenin as a flagship city in Palestinian resistance. Israel consistently targets Jenin’s defensive resistance organizations as terrorist organizations and uses ‘threat of terrorism’ as a justification to raid Jenin whenever there is unrest in Palestine.
Because of the occupation’s impact on economy and infrastructure in Palestine – the workers strike carried out throughout the country in solidarity with Jenin had a profound impact. It represents how colonization not only effects Palestinian’s right of return to Palestine but their own self determination and economic self sufficiency in Palestine. The act of striking as a form of resistance in 48, the West Bank and Gaza has different consequences for the different partitioned groups within Palestine, but for all of them it is a sacrifice representative of the unanimous dedication of the Palestinian people to liberation, independence and self determination.
The protest in Chicago held outside the Israeli consulate on Sunday January 29th mirrored this same revolutionary dedication. The rally prior to the march included a great many student speakers from The Students for justice in Palestine Chicago-the largest and most proactive student group in Chicago. Other speakers came from our brothers and sisters at American Muslims for Palestine, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, and the US Palestinian Community Network.
One of our dedicated interns, Mohammad, spoke on behalf of al Nahda, delivering a rousing speech on how he sees his community and how he sees liberation as one of the diaspora who has never seen his homeland. His family originally from Al Quds, they now live in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. At UIC Mohammad study’s pre-law and is an active member of the SJP UIC chapter.
In his speech Mohammad called for community members to continue the momentum they felt at the rally- to not stop fighting and marching after the protest was over. He encouraged us to look to the organizing organizations for leadership on how to continue that momentum. We have compiled contact information and upcoming projects and events for the organizers of the protest for you all to get involved!
Meet the organizations that host our protests!
Al Nahda hosts many programs and events which we invite the community to take part in! Our Salwa program is always looking for volunteers! If you are interested in helping the community toward food security please sign up to volunteer with us using this link .
If you are interested in any of Al Nahda’s Political organizing work or political education workshops please check out our sister organization Jisoor to learn more! Jisoor is also taking interns and volunteers for many positions – if you are interested in contributing your time please follow this link!
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP)
American Muslims for Palestine has many oppertunities for enrollment which you can explore on their website here!
In anticipation of Ramadan this March please sign their pledge to boycott Israeli date companies. You can sign their petition on their website or by following this link!
Students for Justice in Palestine Chicago Coalition
Students for Justice in Palestine Chapters frequently collaborate with Al Nahda center on events and campaigns. Their tireless efforts are in expendable in fostering the next generation of Palestinian activists. They’re many campaigns across multiple campuses cover a variety of issues iin the diaspora and doing work with communities overseas. Please follow their instagram @sjpchicago for updates on campaigns and to follow individual chapters. SJP chapters are always looking for donations and new members so encourage your young people to join and reach out to your local chapter to give!
US Palestinian American Community Network
USPCN offers a community network spanning several majors cities across the US for Arabs and Palestinians. The network can provide members with resources, and support in their work and a sense of broader community amungst Palestinians in the US diaspora. You can become a member by following this link or donate to their annual fundraiser here!
Palestinian American Community Center
The Palestinian American Community Center in Burbank hosts many programs and services for the community! the best way to get involved is to reach out to them via their facebook page! Facebook is regularly updated with their upcoming events, announcements and calls for donation!
Palestinian American Council
The Palestinian American council provides up to date and reliable information about current events in the middle east and Palestine. You can follow their updates by keeping up with there website subscribe to their mailing list via this link!
Below is a transcript of the speech:
Free Free Palestine
Free free Palestine
Salam aleikum everyone.
First I wanna start off by saying thank you to all of the organizations here today whose amazing organizing brought us here – Al Nahda Center, AMP, Palestinian American Community Center, Palestinian American Council, SJP Chicago, and USPCN. Many of us took time off of work today to march in the cold as we gather in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Jenin who went on strike to mourn the deaths of our beloved martyrs.
2002 was the bloodiest year for Jenin – 20 years later, and this raid echos the atrocities of the first Intifada.
In the wake of this massacre, Palestinians from Haifa to al-Khalil, from Gaza to al-Aqsa went on strike and marched for our brothers and sisters. They marched for those who died for our liberation! I feel honored to be here looking back at you… I see it in your faces: how resilience and grief and love for this community carried you here, I really do. The faces of young and old, of those born in Palestine and those born here who have never seen our beautiful land. But I wish I didn’t have to see your faces looking back at me like this. I wish I didn’t have to see our loving Palestinian mothers crying. I wish I could look out on a crowd like this and see smiling faces. I wish we could gather here in celebration.
I don’t wanna be out here today, I don’t wanna HAVE to come out here and protest the occupation of my home… I wanna live in a world where the lives of my brothers and sisters are cherished – a world where their self defense is not labeled as “terrorism”. A world where you can look back at me and smile today.
But there is hope for this world, there is growing room for optimism. International support is at the highest level it’s ever been. /Don’t let the resilience and grief which brought you here extinguish when you leave here today. Help the organizations that brought you here – every one of them continues the fight every day. Volunteer, write to your representatives, talk in your schools, talk to your friends, contribute however you can, but never stop fighting.
In response to the latest resistance movements, a Zionist military correspondent said “a hornets nest has been opened uponed us”!!! Today we are those hornets! Israel has become increasingly aggressive for a reason, they murdered shireen Abu Akleh for a reason, they raided jenin for a reason. What is that reason? It’s simple! THEY are afraid! WE are not. THEY* are full of cowardice! WE* are full of bravery! It has been 75 years since al nakba, but the longing for intifada doesn’t die until liberation!! WE are that liberation!! We ARE Phalasteen!!!!!
Free Free Palestine
Free Free Palestine
Allah hu Akbar
Allah hu Akbar
We are happy to announce the launch of Jisoor, our sister organization which will be leading our work in Political Education and Lobbying in the community.
Salaam from Jisoor!
Jisoor is an Al Nahda Affiliated Organization which aims to educate and build bridges in the Palestinian community in Chicago and in Palestine. We work through policy, partnerships, art and literature to foster a more unified Palestinian movement in the diaspora and Palestine. We have created four facets of Jisoor to best bring our community together:
Bridge events are small educational events where students and young activists’ present their research on Palestine studies in a short presentation followed by a longer discussion by the community. Please fill out our interest form to become a student speaker for one of our upcoming bridge events to present on your own research. If you are looking to intern with the Jisoor research team or would like to submit some of your work to be featured in our events or magazine please contact us via this link!
Al Qalam is our literary magazine launching in 2023. The magazine serves to unite scholars, activists and artists in Palestine with the diaspora published with pieces in Arabic and English. If you are interested in becoming a contributor to the Al Qalam magazine please reach out to our research team on our website! or follow this link to Get Involved!
Our digital library catalogs the work of activists and provides a living library for Palestinians to share and draw from stories of shared struggle and success. Jisoor is dedicated to freedom of information which is why our library and magazine are free to the public.
Jisoor is launching our policy campaign in the new year in partnership with the Good Sheppard Collective on their ongoing Defund Racism Campaign. We are working locally to stop local charities, organizations, companies and individuals from making charitable donations to settler organizations in Palestine. By working locally we are able to garner greater support and awareness in our communities, advocate Palestinian issues with local and state legislatures and strengthen the coalition working globally to stop organizations from funding settlements in Palestine. We working with organizations in Palestine to bring the biggest policy concerns in Palestine to the diaspora and educate the diaspora on how to get involved. Please join one of our upcoming lobbying workshops and stay up do date on everything Jisoor on our website.
We are currently running an extensive Pita Bread Drive in areas where food and bread are scarce due to the outbreak of COVID-19. As part of this project, we provide and distribute bread and packages of food to those in need. To ensure safety, we hand packages of food to individuals through their car trunks to adhere to social distancing practices. The Salwa Project provides packages of food to 200 families weekly, including Muslims and non-Muslims, who live in the Southwest Suburbs of Chicago and other parts of Chicago.