Meet the youth! A few of the organizers are listed below, more to come soon. So far, youth passengers and/or organizers from several countries, including Palestine (Gaza Strip), Jordan, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Greece, US, UK, Israel and others, have confirmed their participation in youth boats to Palestine.
Julia Danner (Stony Point, NY, USA) is an activist and a resident volunteer with the Community of Living Traditions, a multifaith community dedicated to the practice of nonviolence, in Stony Point, New York. She works as a part of the Shomer Shalom Network for Nonviolence, has volunteered and will continue to volunteer with the organization, No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, in Tucson, AZ, and is currently working with Young, Jewish, and Proud (via Jewish Voice for Peace) on their new campaign, ‘Go and Learn’.
Erin DeRamus (Portland, OR, USA) is a practitioner and instructor of acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and Qigong. Over the past few years I have worked in public health and recovery with the local Native American Rehabilitation Association. Through various work and life experiences, I have seen many commonalities inherent to the trauma of displaced and oppressed populations, whether personal, cultural, or generational. In December 2008 I also worked on a project to teach basic ear acupuncture protocols for the treatment of PTSD to the Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture in Ramallah, as well as in Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem. From there, I witnessed the egregious violence executed by Israel in ‘Operation Cast Lead’ upon the people of Gaza. I also witnessed the ways in which local reports systematically minimized those crimes against humanity and rationalized them as acts of self-defense.“I believe true resistance comes from the keeping of traditional artistic and cultural values in the face of the oppression. The natural power of nonviolent cultural resistance, empowerment, and connection to the land will, I believe, eventually overcome the unjust and illegal policies of our current governments. I’m tired of war being profitable and marketable and I am saddened by the international community’s silent complicity and unwillingness to defend the rights of all peoples. I have dedicated my life’s work to respect and support the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples from all tribes, creeds and nations and I am committed to securing human rights for all individuals. I live my life in opposition to the belief that occupation, war and genocide are ever justifiable.”
Steve Fake (New Orleans, LA, USA) is coauthor of The Scramble For Africa: Darfur – Intervention and the USA, (2009). He has written extensively on foreign policy and been active in organizing around social justice issues for many years. In 2007, he participated in a program of international peace observation and accompaniment in an autonomous indigenous community in Chiapas, Mexico through the Fray Bartolome Center for Human Rights. He is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, Amnesty International USA, and Workers Solidarity Alliance.“I feel compelled to contribute to the Freedom Flotilla II as a means of mitigating the destructive violence perpetuated by the tax dollars of U.S. citizens. For many years, U.S. government policy has been the principal road block to peace between Israelis and Palestinians. It is a moral imperative for Americans to aid in the work of projects like Gaza-bound vessel, The Audacity of Hope. For me, the principal attraction of the Free Gaza Movement is its demonstrated effectiveness at dramatizing the unjust policies of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people. The first Freedom Flotilla proved to be a highly efficacious tool for raising global awareness about the U.S.-Israeli siege on Gaza and the IDF’s willingness to perpetrate violence upon unarmed civilians.”
Missy Lane (Washington, D.C., USA) is a progressive activist in the anti-war movement and works on issues related to ending the occupation of Palestine, racial and economic justice and animal rights. She’s been on humanitarian trips to Mexico, Mozambique and Palestine/Israel. She first travelled to the West Bank in 2005 to study Arabic, live with a host family and volunteer. While there she was given the unique opportunity to travel throughout Gaza on a research tour.She met her fiance in Bethlehem and together they have organized across the east coast in support of Palestinian rights by organizing events, trips, & speaking on panels. In 2007 they returned to Palestine to join international activists during the olive harvest to resist the illegal blockade of farmers from their lands. Missy is honored to be a passenger this year aboard The Audacity of Hope.
Gabriel Matthew Schivone (Tucson, AZ, USA) is a Chicano-Jewish American and undergraduate student who was born in Tucson, Arizona. He is on the ad hoc national conference committee of Students for Justice in Palestine, and is a volunteer with the humanitarian/migrant-rights organization, No More Deaths/No Más Muertes, which works to end death and suffering on the US/Mexico border and throughout Arizona. Gabe is also coordinator of AZ Jewish Voice for Peace. He draws strength and resolve to join Flotilla II from, among other areas, the marvelous words of Henry Thoreau: “Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence. A minority is powerless while it conforms to the majority—it is not even a minority then—but it is irresistible when it clogs by its whole weight.”