MLK III will present awards to the unrecognized village of Al-Araqib and two Arab human rights activists

Date: 2016/10/27
Martin Luther King III, son of the late American civil rights leader, will present the 2016 Unsung Hero Awards to three Arab human rights activists at the Mossawa Center’s conference on The Legal Status of Arab Citizens, which will take place in Nazareth on 28 October 2016.

            The awards will honor the achievements and contributions of Jabir Asakle, Nabila Espanioly, and the residents of Al-Araqib, an unrecognized village in the Negev, for their activism on behalf of the Arab community in Israel. The awards will be sponsored by the Drum Major Institute, which was founded by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Junior.

            Jabir Asaqla has devoted his career to capacity-building and community organizing in the Palestinian minority in Israel. He is currently the Head of Graduate Programs at the Mandel Center for Leadership in the North, where he is working to build a network of social leaders in Northern Israel. As co-director of Sikkuy, the Association for the Advancement of Civic Equality, Mr. Asaqla worked to promote equality and dignity for Arab citizens of Israel. With Shatil, Mr. Asaqla spearheaded initiatives to build robust Arab-Jewish partnerships and strengthen Palestinian civil society and leadership. Throughout his career, Mr. Asaqla has worked to amplify the voices of Palestinian citizens of Israel and laid the foundations for the next generation of Palestinian activists.

            Nabila Espanioly is a respected advocate for women and children in the Palestinian community in Israel, working to improve the status of Arab women in Israel and increase access to early childhood education resources in the Arab community. As the founder and director of the Al-Tufula Pedagogic Center for Women and Early Childhood Education in Nazareth and co-founder of Musharakh, Ms. Espanioly works to improve access to early childhood care and development resources in the Palestinian community in Israel. Ms. Espanioly is a vocal feminist and peace activist and has co-founded several influential organizations in the Arab community, including the Women in Black, the Ishal’isha Palestinian women’s collective, and the Mossawa Center. She was also the chairwoman for Shatil and New Israel Fund’s subcommittee on human rights and peace. Ms. Espanioly was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 as one of the “Thousand Women for Peace” and received the International Aachen Peace Prize in recognition of her efforts to promote peace and human rights in the Middle East.

            Al-Araqib is an unrecognized Bedouin community in the Negev that has been demolished 105 times.  Residents of the village have tirelessly advocated for rights for the Bedouin community in Israel through legal campaigns and non-violent protests. Villagers have been arrested dozens of times for peaceful demonstrations, including standing in front of bulldozers and refusing to vacate their family’s land. Al-Araqib is recognized in the Bedouin and Arab communities as a symbol of resilience and non-violent resistance.

            The Mossawa Center is proud to recognize these community leaders at the Conference on the Legal Status of Arab Citizens. Their efforts have accelerated progress in the Arab community and set an example for future leaders. Mr. Asaqla, Ms. Espanioly, and the residents of Al-Araqib have built their legacies on decades of activism and community development for the Arab minority in Israel.

            The Conference on the Legal Status of Arab Citizens will be held in Nazareth on Friday, 28 October 2016. The conference serves as an important platform for the Arab community to discuss the rights of and legal issues for Arab citizens in Israel.

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