Women's Activism NYC

Fatima Bernawi

1939 - 2022

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Fatima Bernawi is an Afro-Palestinian woman who was at the forefront of the Palestinian Liberation movement during her lifetime. Bernawi experienced the Nakba or forced displacement from her home at age nine. As an adult, she worked as a nurse in Qalqilya and saw firsthand the Zionist attacks in the West Bank in 1967. She organized an attack against the Zionist regime and was imprisoned by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) for ten years. These experiences dramatically shaped her life's work and strengthened her commitment to the liberation of the Palestinian people against the Israeli regime. After her release, she worked closely with Yasser Arafat and set up the Palestinian Women's Police in Gaza. She was awarded the Military Star of Honor Medal in 2015 by President Mahmoud Abbas. Bernawi's story is a reminder of the contributions of Black women in resistance movements. It is also a reminder of our interconnected struggles for liberation. The same IOF forces that arrested Bernawi and brutalized her in prison are the same forces that train American police forces in their surveillance and brutalization tactics. From Sudan to Congo to Palestine to Turtle Island. None of us are free until all of us are free.

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