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Palestinians Find a Way in New Jersey

Jerusalem24– The Mayor of Paterson, New Jersey unveiled on Sunday the new name of a stretch of five blocks along its main street: Palestine Way.

The move was considered to be an honorary act towards the contributions of Palestinian-Americans in the USA, especially in the Paterson community.

Mayor Andre Sayegh, who is of Lebanese-Syrian heritage, said, “Palestinians are making countless contributions to our communities every day in the United States of America.”

“History is happening here, when we finally unveil not Palestine Street, not Palestine Boulevard, but Palestine Way, because Palestinians always find a way.” – Mayor Andre Sayegh

During the unveiling of the new street sign, an estimated 5,000 people poured into the streets, celebrating as well as commemorating the 74th anniversary of the Nakba. Dancers performed the traditional Palestinian dabka, and stands serving traditional Palestinian food and clothes filled the newly-baptized Palestine Way.

When the Palestine Way sign was unveiled, many women performed the zaghrouta, a distinctive ululation Arab women perform at weddings and other special events – MEE – Reem Farhat
The Baydar Dabka group of Palestinian American dabka dancers perform for attendees – MEE, Reem Farhat

The celebrations however have been marred by threats to several local Palestinian and Palestinian-American activists and businesses.

Raed Odeh, owner of the Palestine Hair Salon on Main St., says he received threats from several different people by phone, telling him, “You guys should not be here.”

When Odea confronted the caller and asked why they were threatening his staff, the caller eventually answered, “I’m calling your business because of the name of your business.”

Another activist reported being told, “Your mere existence is a threat to my existence. And so we’re gonna file a police report on you.”

The Palestinian-American community is very active in the US, with demonstrations in honor of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and in memory of the Nakba 74 years ago taking place across the US throughout last week, including in New York, Washington DC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

 

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