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Rasmea Odeh

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Rasmea Odeh: Guilty verdict for Palestinian activist doesn’t mean battle for justice is over

By Dima Khalidi | This article originally appeared on The Hill

Rasmea Odeh is a sixty-seven year old Palestinian-American feminist, activist, educator and community leader who served as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago since 2004. For over a decade, Rasmea built unprecedented community support for close to 600 Arab immigrant women; established community-wide education projects for Arab immigrant women; and received the “Outstanding Community Leader Award” from the Chicago Cultural Alliance in 2013. Earlier this year, on October 22, the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea in her home for alleged immigration fraud. Many believe that her arrest is part of an ongoing witch-hunt that targets Arabs and Muslims who criticize U.S. and Israeli policy and labels them as “terrorists” because Rasmea has been demanding justice for Palestinians for most of her life. She, herself, spent time as a political prisoner in Israeli jails in the 1970’s where she was violently tortured and humiliated– despite the international legal prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.

Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, discusses the ramifications of Rasmeah Odeh’s recent guilty verdict in a four-day trial.

National Assata Shakur Liberation Day: Activism Undeterred

By Dara Cooper, Contributing Editor, Environment, Food, & Sustainability

This past November 2nd was the 35th anniversary of a day celebrated by many as Assata Shakur Liberation Day. It is the day former Black Panther Assata Shakur was liberated from a maximum-security prison, a day many acknowledge as a celebration of freedom fighters, political prisoners and exiles.

Although Shakur is widely lauded as an activist, freedom fighter, artist, and important public intellectual, the U.S. government persistently characterizes her as an enemy of the state, a terrorist.  In May 2013, the FBI placed Shakur on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list and doubled the bounty for her capture to an outrageous $2 million, even though she has been granted political asylum in Cuba. But, as Mos Def eloquently declares with the title of his essay about Shakur: “The Government’s Terrorist is Our Community’s Heroine.”

“Viewed through the lens of U.S. law enforcement, Shakur is an escaped cop-killer,” Mos Def explains. “Viewed through the lens of many Black people, including me, she is a wrongly convicted woman and a hero of epic proportions.”