On Tuesday, October 24, the anti-Palestine resolution that Brantford City Council had previously endorsed unanimously was defeated at a City Council meeting by a vote of 10-1. The crushing defeat of the outrageous resolution is thanks to the incredible show of strength, wisdom, pain, humanity, and leadership by the Palestinian and Muslim communities in Brantford.
The Council Chamber was filled with people in Palestinian colours and keffiyehs. All speakers spoke against the motion, and all spoke eloquently, generously, passionately, and with grace. I was moved to tears several times while listening, and I learned a great deal from many neighbours who I hadn’t known before.
The now-defeated resolution grieved loss of life in Israel while ignoring the nearly 6000 Palestinians killed by Israel since October 7. It urged the Canadian Government to fund the Israeli military. And it promised to illuminate Brantford City Hall in the colours of the Israeli flag until Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza is complete.
I’m proud to say that twenty-seven Laurier Brantford faculty members from more than ten different programs signed an open letter to council opposing the divisive, harmful resolution. The wisdom, experience, and pressure from our students, many of whom were at City Hall for the meeting, was essential to mobilizing faculty. I hope in the future Laurier senior leadership and our faculty union will also stand publicly in defence of full human rights for all Palestinians, and in defence of the importance of protecting free speech around Israel-Palestine.
I’m grateful to the City Councillors who changed their vote after listening to community members speak. It is good to be able to change our minds when we learn that we are wrong. The movement for a free Palestine, all movements for social transformation, requires that people who aren’t already supporters listen, learn, and choose differently. It was amazing to watch that sort of change happen before my eyes. The power of collective wisdom and pressure is real. Good for the ten City Councillors who voted their resolution down
The catastrophe in Gaza worsens by the hour. There is an incredible amount of work ahead to achieve a ceasefire now, to stop Israel’s genocidal war and end the siege of Gaza, to fight Islamophobia, and to defend the rights of Palestinians and Palestine solidarity activists. To deepen and grow movements supporting full Palestinian rights… to Free, Free Palestine! But what happened in Brantford was an important win, led by grassroots Palestinian and Muslim organizing — from the streets during Sunday’s Hands Off Gaza rally, to the seat of local government.
Did you like this article? Help us produce more like it by donating $1, $2, or $5. Donate