Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tomorrow - Omaha's Emergency Vigil to #StandWithAleppo

Omaha Call to Action - Friday, Dec 16th

Emergency Vigil to #StandWithAleppo 

When: Friday, December 16th, 2016
Time:  5 - 6:30pm
Location: 72nd & Dodge St, Omaha, NE 

Over the last few days, the Syrian government and its Russian allies have escalated their offense against the besieged neighborhoods of Aleppo. Tens of thousands remain under siege at the moment and many have lost their lives. 

News just broke of a deal between Turkish and Russian intelligence to evacuate civilians from Eastern Aleppo, but we must keep the pressure up to make sure everyone gets evacuated safely. 

As citizens of Aleppo are being massacred and the city faces total destruction by the Assad regime and the Russian government forces, we will gather this Friday, December 16 from 5 - 6:30pm on the northwest corner of 72nd & Dodge for an emergency, community-wide vigil to #StandWithAleppo, sending a message to Syrians that they are not alone.
Please join us in showing solidarity with people of Aleppo, and in demanding an immediate end to the indiscriminate aerial bombardment of residential areas in Aleppo. Join us in raising your voice to support safe and free movement for civilians and aid convoys out of and into the city.

Please share widely with your friends. Feel free to bring your own homemade signs and candles.
Don't turn away. Our voices are their voices, and we need to make sure they're heard. This isn't an invitation, it's a call for humanity for anyone who's willing to join in their voice.
Aleppo has been devastated beyond words as the world watches in silence. It is time to break the silence and raise our voice for Aleppo and Syria at large.

For more information and press inquiries, contact: 
Katie Huerter - - (402) 312-1188


Monday, August 15, 2016

3 Important Palestine Events in Des Moines Starting Now - Sept 19, 2016!

We have three very exciting and powerful Palestinian events occurring in Des Moines starting this week though September 19th that I hope many of you will be able to attend, as well as, help us spread the word encouraging others in the community to attend as well. 
Event #1: Gaza Pinwheel Memorial Display 
Date:  Tuesday, Aug 9 - Monday, Aug 15, 2016
Location: American Friends Service Committee (4211 Grand Ave, Des Moines)

With the help of our amazing volunteers and AFSC's MEPEP Committee, our Gaza Pinwheel Memorial Display is now set-up and available for public viewing anytime now through next Monday, August 15th in the front lawn outside our AFSC office. 

The Gaza Pinwheel Memorial Display features 521 black pinwheels, each tagged with a name of an actual child killed, represents a young life lost during Israel's military assault on Gaza during the summer of 2014. 

The Gaza Pinwheel Memorial Display is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee Iowa. 

Check out the following link to read local press coverage of the display: 

Please feel free to join, invite others and share this event on Facebook at the following link: 

Date: Tuesday, Aug. 16: 5:30 - 7:00pm
Location: Backstage at Noce (1326 Walnut St., Des Moines)
Dr. Maria Filippone will report on her recent trip to the Middle East as part of a delegation sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility.  She will focus on the situation in Gaza, noting that a U.N. study has found that, unless something changes, Gaza will become uninhabitable by 2020.  Issac Christiansen, member of Jewish Voice for Peace, will offer a response to Maria's story as well. 
This event is sponsored by STAR Pace and is co-sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee Iowa; Catholic Peace Ministry; Des Moines Faith Committee for Peace; Methodist Federation for Social Action; and Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Des Moines Branch. 
Event #3: Des Moines Premiere of 'Detaining Dreams'
Date: Monday, Sept. 19; 7:00pm 
Location: Drake University's Sussman Theatre, Olmsted Center (2875 University Ave, Des Moines)
Join us for the Des Moines premiere of AFSC's intimate new documentary film, 'Detaining Dreams' chronicling "the stories of four Palestinian youth arrested by Israeli forces in the Palestinian West Bank, and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system.  From the moment of arrest Palestinians face ill treatment and torture at the hands of the Israeli military. 
A panel discussion will follow the film featuring Yazan Meqbil, a Palestinian youth activist whose family has been impacted by the Israeli military detention system; and Rabbi Brant Rosen, Midwest Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee. 
The film and panel discussion is a kickoff event for the No Way to Treat a Child campaign in Iowa; and is sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee Iowa and the Drake Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance. 
Please feel free to join, invite others and share this event on Facebook at the following link: 

For Press Inquires & More Information Regarding All Three Events Listed Above and Local Palestinian Advocacy Efforts across the Midwest Please Contact:
Katie Huerter (AFSC) - - (cell) 402-312­-1188

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

"A Direct Message to My White Family & Friends - Your Silence IS Your Racism"

"A Direct Message to My White Family & Friends - Your Silence IS Your Racism"
 By: Katie Huerter   07/15/16

I realize this may offend many of my own personal friends and family members (I may even lose a number of you soon), but I, along with every single one of us, have an absolute responsibility to call one another and ourselves out when necessary.  This is one of those moments.

I'm honestly mortified, ashamed, angry and fucking heartbroken about the overwhelming, almost complete, absolute SILENCE coming from the large majority of all my white friends and family members regarding anything that even slightly acknowledges the horrific racism, oppression and white privilege of our world...

...Especially now, when more and more people of conscience around the country are adhering to a universal moral call and finally choosing to stand, march and loudly speak their truth to power on the right side of history! 

To all my beloved white friends and family members, this MUST STOP NOW! 

Your silence IS your racism... 
Your silence IS the unjust violence killing those who cannot hide behind your safe, white privilege.... 
YOU are choosing the side of the oppressor, and your degrees, careers, kindness, life choices, religions, values, intellect, money or selfish, false excuses cannot hide you from your own, shameful truth that you are actively choosing to be a racist.

If you may be wondering if my post is referring to you directly and personally, ask yourself if you have in any way spoken out loud, online, taken any sort action, even felt an internal awakening of any kind spurred by the world around you screaming for justice, screaming so loud you can no longer shut your window and pretend it isn't happening? 

If your answer is no, then yes, yes my loved ones, I am talking directly, with a heavy heart, but a heart filled with love... to you. 

But please know... I promise I will walk this road alongside you in our journey together through truth, courage, fear, pain and compassion while you, me and all those we love one by one finally begin living what we claim to believe and face our truth, our privilege, our white fragility and the racist truth of our world and begin our work in changing this world, dismantling injustice and truly honoring the inherent sacred dignity and worth of every human being for generations to come. 

We can do this, we must do this.
Together, let's choose the right side of history. 

#EndWhiteSilence #FreedomNow #BlackLivesMatter #BlackLiberationMatters

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Help Support My Upcoming Delegation to Palestine!

Please help support
Jody & Katie's Palestine Delegation
by making a donation and helping spread the word. 

We are thrilled to invite you to partner with us in supporting an exciting project to help advance our work for peace and justice!

We will soon be traveling to Israel and Palestine as part of an upcoming delegation focused specifically on, “Incarceration, Detention and Political Prisoners," May 21 - June 3rd, 2016, cosponsored by
Interfaith Peace Builders (IFPB)  and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

This delegation will explore Palestinian and Israeli efforts to achieve peace with justice and will include meetings that delve deeper into the issues of detention and incarceration, the Israeli military court system, and political prisoners - including meetings with organizations like Addameer, Defense for Children International Palestine, and New Profile.  The delegation will also feature meetings with Palestinian and Israeli leaders of civil society groups, grassroots organizers, religious leaders and more.

Since our own work is at the grassroots level across the US Midwest (Iowa and Nebraska), Jody with AFSC's Immigrant Legal Services Program, and Katie with AFSC's Middle East Peacebuilding Program, we are especially eager to learn of the grassroots efforts for justice for Palestine.

Our upcoming delegation offers us an unprecedented opportunity to connect our ongoing AFSC work for peace and racial justice in the US, including prison abolition, refugee rights, and end to mass incarceration, with the work of supporting justice and peace in Palestine. 

With our delegation departing in only a few short weeks, we are reaching out to our friends, family, and community, to help us raise the rest of the funding needed to help cover the remainder of our essential delegation fees, such as food, transportation, and accommodations. 

Please consider making a donation of $25 $50, $100, or more to partner with us on this exciting project. 

While in Israel and Palestine, we will be sending out emails about our experiences on the ground, please let us know if you are interested in receiving these emails, and we will add you to our list. 

When we return, we would love to either invite you to a scheduled presentation on our experience, and we would be thrilled to share our experience with you by blogging, working with you/your organization, organizing an event with your group, collaborating on strategy sessions with allies in our Iowa community and more. 

Thank you for your generous support in helping us reach our goal and please do not hesitate to contact either of us for more information. 

B’shalom v ahava, (with peace and love)

Jody Mashek;  email:
Katie Huerter;  email:

Friday, May 6, 2016

Omaha Trump Protest Friday May 6th: #NeverTrumpOmaha

Omaha Call to Action: Trump Protest Friday, May 6th

Donald Trump is bringing his neo-fascist circus to Omaha this Friday. Let's show him that Omaha will not stand for his hate.  Let's stand against his xenophobia, racism, and fascism.
Let's show him that HIS HATE is NOT welcome here.

Omaha Friends and Allies - Join us this Friday to protest Trump's bigotry, racism, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric! Let's let Trump, and all major media know, Nebraska welcomes refugees, immigrants and diversity... NOT racists!

Omaha's Trump Protest Information:

When:  Friday, May 6th, 2016
Time:  1:30 - 4:00pm
Where:  Eppley Airfield 
(4501 Abbott Dr, Omaha, Nebraska 68110)

ATTN: We will meet at Carter Lake Park, just off of Abbot Drive at 1:30pm and Take the protest to Eppley, down Abbott Drive.

Join Eve Ensler, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Gloria Steinem, union presidents, leaders of worker movements, activists, actors, film directors, religious leaders, teachers, professors, civil rights leaders. lawyers, farmers, writers, workers, students, heads of companies, intellectuals, poets, AND sign TO join the movement to end hatred, fear mongering, bullying, racism in America.

We believe Trump is a grave threat to democracy, freedom, human rights, equality, and the welfare of our country and all our people.

We have witnessed Trump inciting hatred against Muslims, immigrants, women, the disabled. We have seen him evidencing dangerous tendencies that threaten the bedrock of democracy: unleashing a lynch mob mentality against protestors, calling for the expulsion of Muslims from the country, bullying, and fear-mongering.

History has shown us what happens when people refuse to stand against hate-filled leaders.

We pledge ourselves to speak out in every way possible against the politics of hate and exclusion he represents.

Omaha News Coverage Prior to Trump's Scheduled Arrival on Friday, May 6, 2016:

#NeverTrumpOmaha  -  #DumpTrump  -  #StopHateDumpTrump

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Iowa Anti-BDS Bill Is Moving Fast! Take Action Now! Oppose Anti-BDS Legislation in Iowa Today

Today is a critical day for those of us who advocate for peace and human rights through boycott, divestment, and sanctions.

A handful of legislators are trying to ram through SF2281, which would require Iowa to blacklist companies who comply with boycotting or divesting from Israel as a non-violent means of pressuring Israel to end its almost 50 year-old occupation of the West Bank. Public pension funds would have to sell their holdings in any company that take a stance against an illegal and immoral occupation. Also, no company or organization that participates in BDS could contract with the state.  

You don’t need me to tell you that the Iowa state legislature has a lot on its plate. There are schools to improve, housing to build, and a health care system to fix.  So with so much to do, it’s shocking that legislators are spending their time trying to punish advocates for justice and equality in Israel and Palestine.  

It’s a brazen political move by politicians running scared of our growing movement for justice in Palestine and Israel. We can’t let it happen.

We need as many residents of Iowa to call your senators TODAY to urge them not to vote in favor of SF 2281!  The senate is likely to vote on this by 1pm this afternoon (Wednesday, April 27, 2016).
Two more actions to take today:
1. Call your Senator! Tell him/her to vote no on SF 2281.
Call the Senate Switchboard at 515- 281-3371 and ask to speak with the office of your senator.  
If you're not sure who your senator is, you can look him/her up here:

Talking points:
1. Vote no on SF 2281.
2. The Iowa Senate does not have to take sides in the Israel-Palestine dispute and they should not be weighing in on BDS.  
3. This bill violates First Amendments rights. The ACLU and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee have issued statements saying it is unconstitutional.
4. Such a bill requires an in-depth study with a wide range of perspectives presented. No such study has taken place.

2. Call the Senate leadership! Tell them don't bring SF 2281 to the floor.
Call the offices of Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal and Senate President Pam Jochum to tell them not to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote
They are the ones with the power to decide if it is heard and voted on in the senate.
Number: Senate Switchboard 515- 281-3371, ask for their lines.

Talking points: 
1. Do not bring SF 2281 to the senate floor.
2. The Iowa Senate does not have to take sides in the Israel-Palestine dispute and they should not be weighing in on BDS.  
3. This bill violates First Amendments rights. The ACLU and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee have issued statements saying it is unconstitutional.
4. Such a bill requires an in-depth study with a wide range of perspectives presented. No such study has taken place.

Click Here to Take Action Now. Write your State Senator and the Senate leadership today and tell them to vote no on SF2281.

It’s vital that we protect our right to boycott!  From the United Farm Workers’ grape boycott in California, to the international movement that helped bring down South African apartheid, boycotts work. They’re a time-honored, non-violent and constitutionally protected way of taking action, supported by thousands of people of all faiths across our state and many more around the world.

That’s why it’s so important that we defeat this bill. The IA state senate needs to know that their constituents are watching, and that we refuse to allow ridiculous attacks on human rights advocates to be enshrined in law.

Thank you for taking action to support free speech for human rights in Iowa!


Katie Huerter
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Middle East Peace Building Associate