AMP hosts Palestinian heritage parade in downtown Chicago
Arwa Abdallah, an active member of American Muslims for Palestine’s (AMP)Chicago chapter, was one of dozens of organizers who worked to make the first-ever Palestinian Heritage Parade in downtown Chicago a reality.
A few hundred Palestinians and supporters congregated to walk among decorative floats on May 9th. The parade took place from noon to 1 pm from Roosevelt Road and Columbus Drive to Columbus Drive and Monroe Street
Palestinian themed floats, live entertainment from rapper Waheeb Nasan, and the AMP debka dance troupe kept attendees entertained amid cool temperatures. The parade was scheduled to run until 2 p.m., but ended around 1 p.m.
The floats were in chronological order of the Palestinian narrative. The parade started with a large Palestinian flag, then followed with floats showcasing: Abrahamic faiths, the Nakba, United Nations refugees, and post-1948 Palestinians. The parade ended with a traditional Palestinian wedding.
The parade also showed how refugees are coping today.One float had a tent and children in traditional clothing and satchels with their belongings to illustrate the plight of refugees. The Gaza float symbolized the many people killed over the past decade.
“We concluded the parade with a wedding and zaffa (celebratory introduction of the bride and groom) to show life goes on,” said Abdallah.
The parade was sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, Friends of Sabil, Arab American Action Network, and Betunia Club.
“Our major purpose is to get out the word about Palestine,” said Tarek Khalil of the AMP board. “There’s people out there without a state and a lot to commemorate.”
Organizers hope future parades collaborate with AMP chapters nationwide and will create more publicity about the Palestinian narrative. Nida Ali, chairwoman of AMP-Chicago, says the parade was a success, and future plans will include collaboration with other AMP chapters.
Watch the video to one of the songs, Palestinian-American rapper, Dub KMG performed at the parade below: