This article is part of a series called “The Trauma of Racism,” where we highlight the effects racism and xenophobia can have on minority populations.
The focus for protesters at the Poughkeepsie Rise Up! Rally to Defend Palestine was on the mental health of Palestine’s children after the latest chapter in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While a cease fire commenced on Thursday, the mental toll is insurmountable, according to organizer Farris Jamal.
Jamal explained how Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip deal with trauma every single day.
“They have traumatic stress disorder, because there’s no Post,” he said, “It just keeps happening.”
A total of sixty-six children died in this year’s conflict, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military reported the death of two children.
Jamal’s cousin and co-organizer Rana Qader also stressed the importance of both physical and mental health care.
“Obviously, health and safety [are important]. Mental health is another big one for the kids, but also their families,” she said. “We need to make sure that they are all safe and getting the right care for them.”
A report from the United Nations Children’s Fund stated that 1 in 3 children require mental and psychosocial support. It is likely the number has increased in the past few days.
Outside of the human toll, violence reportedly struck 50 education and 20 health facilities on the Gaza Strip.
Qader wants justice for the staggering toll of Palestinians who have lost their lives.
“[I want] for people to be aware of what’s happening in Palestine, for pressure to be put on Israel to be tried and charged for the hate crimes,” she said.
Pro-Palestinian protests started after violence in the Gaza Strip simmered two weeks ago. The protests call for the Biden administration to cease funding Israel’s military, believing they are complicit with the Israel Defense Forces “war crimes” against Palestine.