Hundreds Sprint Through Orland Park In Solidarity With Palestine –

Posted By on May 27, 2021

ORLAND PARK, IL Hundreds rallied in the parking lot of the Orland Park Prayer Center on Sunday, before heading off on a solidarity run for Palestinian refugees. Although the event was planned months ago, over the past few weeks, air strikes and rocket fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip some of the worst violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories in years changed the tenor of the event almost completely.

The solidarity run comes as thousands have taken to the streets of Chicago and the world, holding rallies, sit-ins and protests over the expulsion of Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Running Refugees, an organization that regularly fundraises to provide basic needs for millions of refugees all over the world, spent months planning its 30 days 30 homes campaign to support the repairs and rebuilding of homes previously demolished in the Gaza Strip. After launching the campaign during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, weather pushed back the planned fundraising run by several weeks.

Then the fighting broke out in Gaza.

Dozens of Palestinians were killed by multiple Israeli airstrikes over 11 days. Israel fired the bombs at Gaza in retaliation for rockets fired at Israel from the Strip. Before the rocket fire, some Palestinians groups had warned that continued Israeli violations at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem would lead to a harsh response.

A cease-fire has held since Friday morning. According to CBS, more than 240 Palestinians were killed, including nearly 70 were children. CBS reported 12 Israelis were killed amid the rocket fire.

About 450 people took part in the run through Orland Park Sunday to raise awareness for the those displaced in Gaza, according to Running Refugees chairman Rush Darwish. Walkers and runners lined up near the entrance of 167th Street. Participants crossed the street to enter the Orland Grassland trails, circling back to the start. Runners ran a five-mile trail, while walkers walked two-miles.

Darwish said it was important to the organization to hold the event because of the recent news surrounding Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The chairman was impressed with the amount of people who attended.

"It's inspiring that people are rising up. That people are not only aware of what's happening in Palestine, but they understand the action of what it takes in order to raise awareness and have people see what is happening," Darwish said. "The people that came here today are part of that movement to show everyone the what's happening in Palestine, and it's really beautiful to see."

Orland Park resident Samah Jaber was one of the first to complete the run, with her friend Jalilah Ahmad, of Bridgeview. The two said they regularly attend events showing solidarity for the people of Palestine, as they are both Palestinian themselves.

"We are long time supporters of Palestine," Ahmad said. "What's happening over there is inhumane. They're keeping the Palestinian people from the rights, and it's happening throughout the country. So we are here to make our voices heard. We are the voices, and we are the media."

Tinley Park's Frosted Donuts donated over 300 freshly baked donuts to runners after completing the track. Owner Feda Ibrahim said she wants to help her community in any way she can.

"I am Palestinian," Ibrahim said. "I want to show support as much as I can for the community, and keep us strong. If everybody works together, we could find a solution to this, and help raise awareness to find a solution for all involved."

As of Monday afternoon, the Running Refugees organization has raised $86,533.42 of its $100,000 goal. Learn more about the organization and the campaign on the organization's website, here.


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Hundreds Sprint Through Orland Park In Solidarity With Palestine -

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