Palestinian-American political, community activist passes away
Ahmad Aljazara, 53, spent more than 35 years of his life fighting for human rights in Palestine and the United States before passing away on Jan. 8 in his hometown in Palestine.
Aljazara left Chicago early this year to visit family in his hometown occupied Jenin, Palestine, and passed away after suffering a heart attack. He immigrated to the United States in 1982, after spending the prior year in and out of an Israeli prison for his political activism in his home country.
Following his immigration to the U.S., Aljazara continued his conscious work by helping out in the Arab-American community in Chicago. During the 80’s, Ahmad worked closely with one of his brothers, Mar’i, who helped establish the Arab Community Center (ACC), which was established in 1972.
Ahmad and others who worked with the ACC understood how important it was to be inclusive with other minority groups which also seek justice and equality.
Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network, said the AAAN’s diverse coalition of networks stems from the work the ACC did throughout the 70’s and 80’s in Chicago. The community center did not close down it transformed into the AAAN, Abudayyah said.
When Abudayyeh first arrived at the Markaz(AAAN) in 1999 he remembered Ahmad spent a lot of time with the youth and the elders and they spoke about politics and community work. Ahmad influenced many during his life time, including Abudayyeh.
Israel’s harassment did not detour Ahmad’s passion to help create change for the better, however it did keep him from traveling back to his hometown as often as he would have liked. After traveling back to the U.S. in 1987, Aljazara did not return to Palestine for approximately 25 years, according to his brother, Yunis.
This past decade, Ahmad spent more time traveling to his beloved hometown and during the past three years he traveled back to Palestine five times.
Beloved by his family, friends and community Ahmad will be missed by all those who were lucky enough to know him.