Our local block party was cancelled this August due to COVID-19. As much as my neighbors and I missed it, a far greater loss has been the ending of Dear Gaza, an outdoor shindig-cum-fundraiser-cum-humanitarian event that would have been in its fifth season this year. Founded by Karmel Sabri, a Palestinian-American artist, the day-long festival filled the intersection of W 24th St. and Lyndale Ave S. in Minneapolis with a selection of live music, spoken poetry, dancing, food and people notably younger and edgier than those typically found at a community cultural fest. A lot of that is what a good street party will always do, but Dear Gaza was different because it was also an act of resistance. To celebrate Palestinian people and culture in the United States, and to do it loud and proud and fabulously, is to offer an alternative to the polarizing narratives much more commonly told about Palestine in the media and in academia, left and right. Dear Gaza insisted on the necessity of public visibility, participatory culture and, above all, radical fun.
—Lori Waxman 2020-10-26 12:42 PM