March 16 marked 13 years since 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli Army bulldozer while trying to prevent the demolition of the Nasrallah family home in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Palestine. While some measure of accountability and justice has been achieved for UK citizens Tom Hurndall and James Miller, the two other internationals killed by Israel in that same awful period, there has been no justice for Rachel Corrie within either the U.S. or the Israeli legal system.
Nevertheless, Rachel’s stand in Gaza still inspires us and countless others around the world to work for peace with justice for Palestine, and for Gaza in particular, with a special focus on improving the lives of children who represent the best hope for the future.
Here in Madison, we will celebrate the life of Rachel Corrie on Sunday, April 3, at 7 pm at Christ Presbyterian Church, 944 East Johnson Street, with an eye-witness report from a local volunteer just returned from two months of volunteering in Palestine with Operation Dove. We invite you to join us for dessert and refreshments, and to help support the installation of a playground in Hebron, Palestine.
Today, as we remember Rachel, please take a moment to read the following comment and appeal from our partners and friends at the Rachel Corrie Foundation in Olympia, Washington, Rachel’s home town, where a remembrance is being held.
March 10th – April 10th: A time of rebirth and reflection
Here in our hometown of Olympia, Washington, another spring unfolds with persistent showers, daffodils along the roadsides, and trees blooming more vibrantly with each passing day. It’s March again, a time of rebirth. In our community, and certainly at the Rachel Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice, our thoughts turn to Rachel – to the upcoming thirteenth anniversary of her stand in Gaza and, unbelievably for her family, to her upcoming 37th birthday April 10th.
As I write, we are preparing for our local March 16th gathering when we will celebrate Rachel’s community here in Olympia, those in Gaza whom she grew to love, and all of you who with your interest and actions have become a community of supporters. We will reflect upon Rachel’s stand thirteen years ago and upon those in Gaza who continue to live and struggle there. We will spend the day and month exploring how we can make a difference for our global community and for our friends in the Middle East.
Already word is trickling in from some of you about the remembrances you’ve planned or are creating – the gatherings, the new poetry written, the projects you will support in Rachel’s memory. We are touched to hear from you and grateful.
During this month, as we pause to remember, we need your help. Each of you are so important to the work we do in my daughter’s name at the Rachel Corrie Foundation. You continue to provide the encouragement and the resources that make all our efforts possible – the educational events, the projects in Gaza, the scholarships, the advocacy, the networking, and more.
During this month, we have a special opportunity. A dedicated supporter has offered $12,500 as a matching grant. If, by Rachel’s birthday on April 10th, we can equal this amount through your grassroots contributions, we will also receive the generous matching gift. Once again, whatever you are able to do to help will make a difference, to this effort and also to maximizing our work for peace with justice.
At the Rachel Corrie Foundation, our Board of Directors and staff are turning attention to youth outreach, to expanding communications, and to sustainability. As we do so, we are thinking about Rachel’s legacy – what it is, and what elements of it are most important to nurture and maintain. You can lend a hand by letting us know your thoughts about these questions and by helping us find the resources that will strengthen the Rachel Corrie Foundation for the years and decades ahead – when Rachel’s dad and I are less able to carry on as volunteers ourselves.
Our staff looks forward to being in touch with you in the coming weeks, sharing more about our work and dreams. Meanwhile, during this month of rebirth, so many thanks for continuing to remember and continuing to inspire.
President of Rachel Corrie Foundation