The co-directors speech from the celebrations
Dear honorable guests, family members and friends, dear graduates-
We are honored to be leading the organization as it reached its 30th anniversary. Although the both of us have been part of the movement in the past ten years, during the preparations for this event, it was important for us to look into the archive and hear stories from graduates and former staff members that were involved in Sadaka-Reut along the 80’s and 90’s and to learn from them about the organization’s history. We were happy to find that there are trends that have characterized this movement for the past 30 years: Sadaka-Reut has been and still is a politically radical home that has educated youth for bi-national partnership and for taking responsibility to change reality.
The bi-national partnership this organization strives for is both a means and an end. This partnership is established on the basis of the conflict between our nations.
In the words of Mahmoud Darwish in his poem “A Ready Script”:
He and I
are partners in one trap
and in the probability game;
we wait for the rescue rope
The partnership we uphold stems from us being enemies but represents our shared destiny. A sustainable solution to the conflict will only be achieved if it meets the needs and desires of the two peoples, and in order to reach such a solution we need to work in partnership. Neither one of us will be satisfied with a solution that promises anything less than justice and equality.
The second principle that developed and became overtly clear over the years is that we, the daughters and sons of this land, are the ones responsible to bring about change. Each one of us has a personal responsibility to bring about the desired social change. Sadaka-Reut has taken upon itself the mission of educating youth to be social change activists in the spirit of our vision. Facing the influential policies of the establishment geared to shape the consciousness of youth and adults alike, with perceptions of the other as the enemy, implanting an oppressive, blinded or defeated narrative and a sense of inability to act, we want to educate youth to identify injustice and oppose it, to challenge the system and to struggle against inequality and racism.
Marking thirty years is an opportunity to stop and see what we have achieved thus far and to gather together as a diverse community bound by its experiences in Sadaka-Reut. When we initiated the celebration, we chose to lead a participatory process which included participants, volunteers and staff members from previous years as well as those working today, all those who feel a sense of ownership of Sadaka-Reut. During the initial meetings we decided to focus the celebrations on the impact Sadaka-Reut has on reality vis-à-vis the change its graduates underwent and as a result the activism that they lead, seeking to bring about change.
We focused our efforts on reaching out to as many graduates as possible; interviewing dozens of them and publishing a newsletter, producing a movie “Sadaka-Reut through the eyes of its graduates” and establishing a contact database.
People whom we spoke with emphasized the impact this place had on them, how it shaped who they are and engrained in them the belief that they can promote change and the likelihood that reality will change. They talked about the tools that they acquired here which still continue to influence them and the initiatives they promote.
In a research recently published by Dr. Keren Ross of the University of Indiana, numerous graduates from the three decades were interviewed. They all expressed critical positions in regard to injustices and towards Jewish-Arab relations. Two thirds of those interviewed continue to be active for social change and for the promotion of equality and rights of oppressed and marginalized groups.
In the last decade we reached hundreds of youth yearly, some of which go through a long term and intense process while others are merely exposed to our contents and approach. We are proud to see our graduates integrated in and leading community initiatives, political action groups on campuses, educating in schools, informal frameworks or universities. We take pride when witnessing them swimming against the current, opposing, building an alternative and establishing partnerships that challenge reality.
We have great many friends, supporters and graduates here and we would like to take this opportunity to gather your support, love and admiration and establish Sadaka-Reut’s Friends Association, which will serve as a support system for the organization and enable us to promote its goals. An independent source of funding will enable the organization to continue working in times of financial difficulties, and the financial support system will make it possible to develop new ideas and support graduates’ initiatives.
Finally, we call out to all the graduates present here and to those that could not make it, to continue seeing Sadaka-Reut as their home and to try and find their place in the organization. We would be happy to see you involved.
Our wishes for the organization are that it continues to be relevant, grow and develop; and to our wonderful staff we hope you will continue to lead the organization to new accomplishments. We would like to be guests at the 60th anniversary of the movement; nonetheless we hold on to the dream that by then reality will change significantly and our vision of an equal, just and shared society will become reality.
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the evening.