$100,000 in solidarity with Palestine

Dear Community,  

I am writing today to announce that Headwaters will be making four rapid response grants of $25,000 for a total of $100,000 to support organizations in Minnesota leading local community organizing in response to the ongoing crisis in Palestine:  

These organizations have been on the ground, leading local grassroots community response and resistance to the ongoing violence, oppression, and imperialism in Palestine. They are organizing through action, education, and civic engagement to activate elected leaders to call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire, educating and building awareness across communities about the injustice of Palestinian apartheid, and working closely with Jewish, Muslim, and allied communities to call for peace, freedom, and dignity for all in Palestine and Israel.    

Like many of you, we at Headwaters have felt the cumulative emotional toll of our nation aiding multiple international wars, the entrenchment of opposing discourse in the media and among politicians, and the jarring Islamophobic and antisemitic violence and rhetoric that is mounting in our communities. I write to you as we collectively endure feelings of pain, grief, anger, exhaustion, fear, and more. As we reach the end of the second month of devastation in Gaza, we are clear: there must be lasting peace in Palestine.  

I’ve told Headwaters’ staff to do what they need in this moment: cry, rest, learn, stand up in protest and act. I have shed many tears and hugged my parents tightly. I have taken to the streets to raise my voice against colonialism and the killing of civilians. Now, with these grants, Headwaters is using the tools we have to work towards justice in this moment: funding grassroots organizations building power in our communities to oppose genocide, violence, and occupation.   

Our distance must not undermine the significance of human loss on either side of any border. We at Headwaters mourn all the Palestinians and Israelis that have been killed since October 7 and wish for the safe return of all hostages. We have joined many of you and a coalition of funders in calling for a permanent ceasefire. Alongside mourning and urgent calls for lasting peace, we are called to find and reinforce agents of justice in this world, starting in our own communities.  

It also feels important for me to raise my voice in this moment.   

As a Palestinian-American, the ongoing genocide of my people and colonialization of Palestine has been a truth I have carried with me my whole life. Occupation of Palestinian land and people has been ongoing for decades – it is what caused the evacuation of my parents from their ancestral home in the 1950s and 60s. This isn’t new. This isn’t short lived or isolated. And although I have never stepped foot in Palestine, I have a connection to Palestine in my heart and soul. My ancestors live in me through my language, food, art, stories, lullabies, and music.   

My ancestry and history as a Palestinian-American parallels many others in our communities in Minnesota, who Headwaters centers in our everyday work of funding movements for justice. I feel kinship with other Indigenous people in Minnesota, America, and the world who have experience genocide; Hmong war refugees; my queer and trans community seeking sanctuary in Minnesota; advocates of reparations for Black communities. The list goes on. These are the advocates we wake up to link arms with at Headwaters: those fighting for decolonization who inspire and partner with us to advance justice and equity and fight towards a liberated future.  

We are proud to be making these grants to these powerful organizations today, and hope you’ll join us in looking towards justice and liberation for all people. 

In solidarity,  

Bilal Alkatout