Al Awda California Home
About   Factsheet   Donate   Contact

Until Return - Issue 3

Introduction by Until Return: Several months ago, a new chapter of Al-Awda was formed in Sacramento California. Since that time, the Sacramento chapter has held several events including a lecture and fundraiser related to the health situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as two teach-ins with film screening on the 2006 attack on Lebanon.

We are pleased to report that a second new chapter of our organization is currently being established in Phoenix Arizona. The following description of the first community event held by Al-Awda Phoenix, followed by a short account of the chapter's history and immediate plans was provided to us by Marwan Ahmad, a founder and coordinator of the chapter.

Al-Awda Phoenix Founding Event
by Marwan Ahmad, Al-Awda Phoenix
December 11, 2007

Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, has established its Phoenix Chapter and invited the community to its first social activity.  Al-Awda organized a picnic in the Tempe area. Al-Awda an organization that promotes the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and lands in historical Palestine has established a local presence.

This picnic was called for by Al-Awda Phoenix that invited members from the Muslim and Arab community in the Valley to join their first community activity. This picnic was to introduce the organization to community members and inform them on Al-Awda and its goals and mission.
The turn out "was bigger than what we expected" said Marwan Ahmad the local Chapter Coordinator. "We expected a few families and we got over a hundred mostly Palestinians attending the picnic." Ahmad added.

When we arrived at Kiwanis Park there was a number of signs directing us to the gathering at the picnic area and on one of the signs was a Palestinian flag to get people's attention, which did. The first part of the picnic was more like getting to know people and meeting new faces who came from all over the Valley. Many people brought with them food to share with others. Everything smelled good and we could not wait for lunchtime. One of the organizers made an announcement for women and children to start serving food then came the men's turn. Luckily some food was left for men to eat. They helped themselves to lunch that included a vast variety of dishes.

After lunch, organizers asked people to gather, and Marwan Ahmad gave a brief
introduction about Al-Awda. Marwan Ahmad started by welcoming community members who gathered to listen and learn about the local Al-Awda Chapter. Al-Awda is a non-partisan, educational, charitable organization that calls for the rights of Palestinian refugees to their homes in Palestine according to International law, Human rights and United Nations resolutions. It consists of independent activist who seek to educate the public about refugees rights as human beings.

Then Ahmad introduced Hani Rahal who spoke about Al-Awda's ways to involve the community in the important task of supporting Palestinian refugees. He stressed the need to educate kids and youth on the right of return and the Palestinian history and struggle.

The picnic continued after the presentation and people scattered into groups.   Some went to playgrounds, some played sports and others enjoyed a cup of tea. Some stayed until early evening before they gathered their belongings and headed home.

Pictures from the founding picnic are posted on this page.

Brief history and future plans

Al-Awda Phoenix established its new chapter in November 2007 and elected a board of 5 officers on an interim basis for one year term and one member as a coordinator with national Al-Awda organization.

Our first activity was a community picnic that drew over 100 members from the community on November 25th.

Our immediate plans include the folowing:

  1. In January we will show Occupation 101 documentary at Arizona State University.
  2. In February we will have a seminar and community discussion on peace conference.
  3. In March we are planning to hold a community banquet to commemorate Day of the Land.


Back to Until Return Issue 3


2000 - 2008 Copyright Al-Awda/PRRC. All Rights Reserved. Legal Information.