Families gather in Mt. Airy to advocate for an end to violence in Gaza and send heartfelt letters to U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans
In Mt. Airy, outside of Lovett Library, over 150 people, kids and grown-ups, gathered on Sunday morning. They were part of the “Children’s Rally in Solidarity with the Children of Palestine,” this was the second time they came together to show their support.
The primary purpose of this gathering was to ask for peace. Kids and their supporters wrote letters to U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans. They wanted him to support the Ceasefire Now resolution, which, if approved, would have Congress officially endorse a ceasefire, calling on the Biden administration to help with the provision of vital supplies such as food and medication.
Hannah Mermelstein, a parent and organizer of the event, expanded on the goal: “Thousands of Palestinian children have been killed since Israel started bombing, and we thought a children’s rally could draw attention to this devastating reality. We really wanted a message centered on children, and as parents, we also wanted a space where our kids could get engaged and easily be able to participate in social justice work at this important time.”
As of this past weekend, more than 7,300 Palestinians, over 3,000 of them children, have been killed, with over 1.3 million displaced since the surprise attack by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7.
The kids filled the letters with their feelings of care and love and put them into a big homemade mailbox, with plans to take them to U.S. Rep. Evans’ office after school the next day. There was also a huge letter, 7-feet-tall and 4-feet-wide, that read “urgent” and had the names of over 50 kids on it.
In their letters, the kids said, “There are more than 2 million people living in Gaza, and half of those people are children, like me. Since Israel began dropping bombs on Gaza, more than 2,000 children have been killed. This is unfair and wrong.” They wanted to ensure their letters were special, so each child customized their own.
Eleven-year-old Nadim said, “This is important because innocent people and kids are being hurt for reasons that are not good.” A 3-year-old named Fern wanted to help, too, and said, “I have a peaceful place, and I want kids in Gaza to have a peaceful place like me.” Six-year-old Birdie kept it simple but potent, saying, “Kids should be safe.”
Mermelstein said, “Some people think the U.S. should send more weapons and money to Israel to destroy Gaza. We say no! People in Palestine are asking everyone around the world to call for an end to the violence (a “ceasefire” means stop the bombing right away) and to bring important supplies into Gaza, like food and medicine for people who are hungry and sick. We say yes to that!”
Parent Jenna Peters-Golden came to the rally with their 4-year-old child. They talked about how they, as an American and a Jewish person, believed it was essential to speak out against the government supporting the bombing in Gaza. They said that “never again,” a phrase associated with the lessons of the Holocaust, should mean protecting everyone, including the people in Palestine.
The Ceasefire Now resolution is noteworthy because it calls for an immediate end to Israel’s bombing of Gaza and to bring help to the people in Gaza. But Mermelstein says that “far too few representatives have signed onto” it, though an overwhelming amount signed onto a passed resolution supporting Israel, which U.S. Rep. Evans supported. That resolution passed 412 to 10. At least one Pennsylvania representative has signed on to a call for stopping hostilities to allow aid to get in, but that resolution specifically avoided calling for a ceasefire.
As the rally concluded, the children’s mailbox filled with heartfelt letters was ready for its journey to U.S. Rep. Evans’ office, set to happen Monday, October 29, after school. These kids, families, and supporters stood side by side with the kids of Palestine, asking for an end to the fighting and a new time of peace and understanding.