Skip to content

Freedom Riders Inspire Beyond US

2011 November 16

Palestinians were inspired by the Freedom Riders to take non-violent action to stand up for their rights

50 years ago, brave men and women of diverse racial background rode interstate buses into America’s Deep South, to protest and bring attention to the injustices of segregation. We honored the Freedom Riders this October with a Common Ground Award, for their commitment to nonviolent action and their daring to make change. Their movement continues to inspire others, most recently a group of Palestinians in the West Bank.

A group of about six Palestinians gathered at a bus stop in the West Bank on Tuesday. They attempted to board a bus for Jewish settlers that would bring them to East Jerusalem. Palestinians are not allowed to cross into Jerusalem without Israeli permission. Just like the Freedom Riders 50 years ago, the Palestinians were arrested by police. According to the San Francisco Chronicle they were later released in the West Bank. The Washington Post writes that they were using civil disobedience as a means to overcome the status quo. The inspiration drawn from the actions of the US Freedom Riders were not just seen in the non-violent action, but one of the activists also wore a T-shirt saying “we shall overcome” – relating tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

In Washington DC a group of students planned a solidarity action boarding buses around the city educating the public on actions happening simultaneously in the Occupied West Bank in a show of solidarity with Palestinian Freedom Riders.

Maybe they “heard” original Freedom Rider, Diane Nash at the CG ceremony call out to everyone to take action and step up for their rights and help change the world. What the original Freedom Riders proved, she said, was that anybody can make change, everyone can contribute.

Diane Nash (on the far left) and some of the Freedom Riders at the Common Ground Awards.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS