Coloradans Run For Palestinians’ Scholarships

CJP-01-20160813 CJP-02-20160813Author, Chuck Carlson, is on left, but did not win the  5K race! 

Saturday, August 13th, 2016, was a grand sunny day at Exposition Park,  Aurora, Colorado, where runners lined up at the starting line for the ,Reach Educational fund  5K Run 4 Palestine.   Runners and spectators paid $35.00 to enter, run, walk or watch, and Palestinian shirts and mementos  went to class winners. Member of Coloradoan for Justice in Palestine (CJP) were among the participants and sponsors.

A Reach Educational fund spokesperson told us all proceeds from the race will go for educational scholarships for Palestinian high school students, many of whom live in the Occupied West Bank and in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison.  She herself is a student here.  She explained that the tuition scholarships will be awaded to Palestinian students, trapped in poverty, who feel education to be their best hope.

I can personally attest to Gaza kids’ desire for education.  When I was there in March 2002, countless children in school uniforms could be seen daily walking to school.  I visited a Catholic day school, attended by both Christians and Muslims, its roof blown off by Israeli missiles weeks before.  I met a parent searching for a new school to replace it.  I was also privileged to speak to an English class at Islamic University in Gaza City, taught by a former Christian missionary who had adopted Gaza as her home.  Her enthusiastic students wanted to know about the real America, not the one which gave bombs to Israel.  Education is the prayer and dream of these children, who have never known peace or complete safety.  But to get out of Palestine, students have to show the Israeli gate-keepers they have scholarships.

Reach Education Fund’s website tells us this:  “What makes this run different is the significance behind your footsteps- because no matter where you are in the world, there are thousands of people and over 35 cities across the world walking side by side with you. So why is the academic pursuance of Palestinian youth significant to us? …Many exceptional students graduate from high school, but are unable to pursue their dreams of attending University due to their inability to afford a higher education.

Chuck Carlson