Rasmea Odeh’s International Working Women’s Day message
Excerpts from a statement issued on March 8, four days before Odeh’s conviction in Detroit.
I’m so grateful for the support, care, and endless love you have shown me, and for so much of the time and effort you have dedicated to the case since my arrest in October 2013. Your support gives me important strength, and continues to allow me the resilience to achieve justice.
I want to tell you that your activism and creative support changed the negative reaction against me, especially when I was in the detention center. Your intensive phone calls and demonstrations, and the support letters that I received from you, played a great role in breaking the isolation and providing a warm feeling in my heart and mind in the freezing cell. With your support, I was able to face all of the challenges and difficulties that threatened my life and my morale!
You are all coming together today to celebrate International Women’s Day, to support me and my legal team, and to stand up for justice. Justice is not a gift or handout that we wait for someone to give to us! Justice is a human right that must be fought for and won. The way women all over the world are fighting for their rights and the rights of their people. I especially want to recognize the dozens of Palestinian women who are political prisoners in Israeli jails. I lived that for 10 years, and I know how difficult it is. They need your support and your solidarity. Together we will achieve justice and freedom and make positive change and a better future for our communities all over the country and the world.
Challenges are not frightening, as long as we believe in our rights and the principles that we stand for, have confidence in ourselves, and rise up together. We become stronger and more effective. Then we can achieve miracles.
When I was incarcerated, I learned from my attorneys that people and families in Illinois and other states pledged their businesses and properties to get me released on bail. When the government refused this and asked for cash, a special one of you donated his life savings to get me released. All this incredible support from my closest friends is extremely appreciated! You are helping me to stand up strongly, whether during the incarceration as I defeated the sealed and frozen cell, or as I continue to fight for my freedom with my brilliant legal team.
Unite against racism
We all need to continue to work hard to eliminate the disease of racism and national oppression against Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Black people, Latinos/as, and other people of color in this country.
On a daily basis, we watch the hate crimes that kill innocent people, just like those three beautiful Arab-American, Muslim young people in North Carolina. Or the institutional police violence that killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, and so many other mostly Black men in the U.S. These tragedies and others reflect the extreme hate that some in this country have for Arabs, Muslims, African Americans, and others. The hate is not just from individuals, though. It is encouraged and supported in many political and media circles that we know are sometimes responsible for the way our communities are treated! They make us out into criminals to support their political agendas, so we should recognize this, and unite to resist it.
We all stand for social justice and liberation in this country the same way my people have dedicated their lives to the liberation of Palestine.