It is hard to believe one year ago this past Tuesday I traveled with Interfaith Peace-Builders to Palestine/Israel on a delegation with a focus on incarceration and detention to begin my journey of documenting "Through The Checkpoint". Today, this year's delegation returns to the United States following their two-week journey bringing with them, I imagine, swollen hearts filled with astonishing stories, grief, compassion, righteous anger, hope, motivation to partner for change and the faces of many new loved ones, like I did. You can read some of their reflections and view their photographs and videos here and find out how to join their olive harvest delegation here.
One of those faces and stories I still hold in my heart, whom I actually met on my fall travels last year is Ayman Al Fakhori, an astoundingly optimistic, hope-filled, inspiring young Palestinian man from Hebron in the West Bank who is a human rights defender working at the Hebron Peace Center.
One's childhood in Hebron is regularly disturbed by a myriad of threats making education and even a youth fully possible.
Now, as an adult, he experiences the occupation in a different way, but with similar challenges.
Some people are provoked to express their resistance to the occupation through violence.
Ayman has been able to commit to other forms of resistance.
As for our choice?
You can also rest assured, when you are able to make your own journey to Hebron, you will have many houses to call home and many people to call family, "Ahalan wa sahlan".
The weight of truth often seems too heavy to bear
The courage to proclaim it seems too vulnerable to risk
The will to catalyze change feels too weak
May we be liberated from our fears that bind and burden
That keep us separated from one another
Kindle the eternal light of love within our depths
That we were born with
That we were made of
That is our center, our grounding, our freedom, and our wholeness
By this power, strength radiates within us and emanates from us
We are awakened with desire to engage in all which works for
the unity and wholeness of all people and all creation
So, great Love, invigorate us with courage to risk responding to injustices
To labor for equality
To be bearers of compassion
Especially at this time, in solidarity with our Palestinian and Jewish Israeli neighbors
That we might live our true identity
Participating in the greatest gift of this life:
To love and be loved
Here is an excellent opportunity to help bring change to the futures of Palestinian youth, sign this letter to 'Urge your members of Congress to join Defense for Children International - Palestine and American Friends Service Committee for a congressional briefing on June 8 exploring what it means to live under military occupation for those bearing its greatest brunt: Palestinian children.'