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“Injustice Anywhere…”: A Conversation on Palestinian and African American Solidarity

When: Sunday, March 9, 2014, 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
Where: First Baptist Church • 633 Centre St • Green St T • Jamaica Plain
“Injustice Anywhere…”:
A Conversation on Palestinian and African American Solidarity
with Mel King, Irene Nasser, and Fadi Quran

Sponsored by The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Centre for Faith, Art, and Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace-Boston, Dorothy Cotton Institute, The City School, Americans Friends Service Committee, Mass Peace Action, and Grassroots International 

Boston’s social justice icon, Mel King will moderate a conversation with Fadi Quran and Irene Nasser, two leading activists in the Palestinian human rights movement. Their conversation will focus on the shared experiences between the African American civil rights movement and Palestinian freedom struggle. Youth from The City will speak on the shared experience of mass incarceration as well. “Injustice Anywhere” is the first event of the Kairos Fourm—series that explores the role that faith-based institutions can play in supporting the Palestinian right to self-determination. The Kairos Forum is a program of The First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain and its new project, The Centre for Faith, Art, and Justice.

About the speakers

For the past five decades, Mel King has been at the forefront of every major social movement in Boston. He graduated from Boston Technical High School in 1946 and from Claflin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1950 with a B.S. degree in mathematics. In 1951, he received his M.A. degree in education from Boston State College and then taught math, first at Boston Trade High School and at his alma mater, Boston Technical High School. King is the founder and current director of the South End Technology Center. In April 1968 Mel King, helped organize a sit-in at the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s office in protest of a planned parking garage--a site where housing had been leveled. For the next three days between 100 and 400 people occupied the lot. Facing police retaliation, they built tents and wooden shanties creating "Tent City." In 1970, King created the Community Fellows Program (CFP) in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and director of the Community Fellows Program for twenty-five years until 1996. In 1981, King's book, Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development was published by South End Press. King is a former Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 1973, he was elected as a State Representative for the 9th Suffolk District and served in the Massachusetts Legislature until 1982. In 1983, when the incumbent Mayor of Boston, Kevin White, withdrew from contention after 16 years in office, Mel King ran for mayor and was narrowly defeated by Raymond Flynn.

Based in Jerusalem, Irene Nasser is an activist and community strategists who has organized and participated in unarmed resistance and direct action for almost a decade. Irene was one of the organizers of Bab Al-Shams protest village, has aided in strategizing direct action in Hebron and across the West Bank, and participated in protests and direct action in villages and cities across Palestine. Irene received an MA in International Service from American University, Washington, DC in 2007. Over the past few years, Irene has also worked with journalists (New York Times, New York Times Magazine, BBC, Al Jazeera, Newsweek, and many more) and international influencers to bring to light the stories of Palestinian community organizers working locally. Irene produced and created an Arabic Graphic Novel, Budrus (based on Just Vision’s film directed by Julia Bacha). She is also the co-producer of a series of short films, Home Front, Aspen ShortFest Official Selection 2012 as well as My Neighbourhood, Winner of the 2012 Peabody Award, the 2012 Al Jazeera Documentary Film Festival Award, and Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival 2012, among many others. Nasser is the co-author of "Textbooks as a Vehicle for Segregation and Domination: State Efforts to Shape Palestinian Israelis' Identities as Citizens" in the Journal of Curriculum Studies (Vol. 40, 2008).

Fadi Quran graduated from Stanford in 2010 with a double major in international relations and physics before returning to the West Bank. Described by Time magazine as the "face of the new Middle East", Quran was arrested in the Occupied West Bank. Quran was taking part in a protest against Israel's long-standing decision to bar Palestinians from a main street in the city of Hebron. Having studied Ghandian nonviolence and the African American civil movement, Quran has engaged in nonviolent action—“occupying” segregated roads and buses by lying down on, causing long police road blocks, and organizing Freedom Rides.

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