Note: This post appeared as an email to Rashida’s email list on December 29, 2021.
I’m Marc Lamont Hill, an author, TV host, and educator fighting white supremacy and oppression in the U.S. and around the world.
I’ve joined Rashida Tlaib to speak out about systemic racism in the U.S. and its connection to Palestinian struggles. She has gotten pushback from liberals and conservatives alike for challenging our country’s racist system of policing and incarceration, as well as for challenging the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
As the first Palestinian-American woman in Congress and one of the first Muslim women in Congress, Rashida has faced Islamophobic attacks and death threats, including from her colleagues in Congress. But she won’t be silenced, and she does not back down from the fight
for oppressed people everywhere.
Like me, Rashida has been an activist her whole life, and I believe that her bold voice and leadership are rare and necessary in Congress.
Rashida is one of the few principled Congresspeople who votes against allocating billions of our tax dollars each year to U.S. imperialism. She understands that the same forces driving U.S. empire-building are also oppressing Black people right here in this country.
The first time I visited Palestine, I traveled right after the Ferguson uprisings. There’s a long history of Black leaders drawing the connection between Black Americans’ liberation and the liberation of all oppressed people facing state violence and oppression.
Due to systemic racism, Black Americans are more likely to get sick and to die from COVID. Before the pandemic we were already over-criminalized and over-incarcerated, but now many of us are caged in prisons that have become COVID hotspots.
Early in the pandemic and again this year, Rashida co-introduced the Dismantle Mass Incarceration for Public Health Act with Reps. Barbara Lee and Ayanna Pressley. If passed into law, the bill would release the most vulnerable incarcerated and detained people during the pandemic and for a year after.
This kind of legislation could bring about meaningful change, but Rashida’s not only counting on congressional action.
For example, she and her team have raised thousands of dollars to cover cash bail for Black mothers in her home state of Michigan, ensuring that they can rejoin their families. This year alone, she’s helped raise over $150,000 for U.S.-based organizations supporting her district, marginalized people across the country, and people in crisis in Haiti and Palestine.
It’s clear that Rashida is committed to fighting for the most vulnerable people in our communities and around the world. We want to see justice everywhere.
To make change, Rashida is willing to take risks. I know that she will not back down even when facing powerful pressure, and that’s why we need her in Congress.
Marc Lamont Hill