CHICAGO—The Chicago Coalition for Justice in Palestine organized a car caravan to continue drawing attention to the atrocities happening in Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces. Hundreds of cars with large Palestinian flags attached to each car lined up in the parking lot of the GeekSeat Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois, and drove in solidarity to downtown Chicago on Dec. 9.

According to the the Ministry of Health in Gaza 17,177 people including 7,112 children have been killed and 46,000 wounded since the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started on October 7.

Despite global protests and calls for a ceasefire by heads of state, diplomats and ordinary people, the bombardment continues.

Several organizations sponsored and participated in the Dec. 9 demonstration in Chicago.


“We are gathered here today to demand the ending of the Israeli genocide [against] Palestinians, and the Israeli war crimes against Palestinians, and for full and complete end of the occupation of the Palestinian people,” said Rania Salem of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network.

“We ask that people really put pressure on their legislators and senators to demand ceasefire. The United States is not only complicit but is an active participant of the occupation of the Palestinian people. The United States gives Israel about $3.8 billion yearly, and we are asking that people urge their representatives to take action now.”

There was a temporary cessation of fighting that lasted just a few days to allow for desperately needed supplies and aid to get to the residents of Gaza, as well as the release of hostages on both sides but fighting resumed around Dec. 1.

Chicago was not the only city in the U.S. and around the world where demonstrations have sparked, calling for an end to the killing of civilians in Gaza. Demonstrations took place Dec. 8 and 9. The “Shut It Down For Palestine” movement spearheaded by the ANSWER Coalition and other anti-war groups also organized a national day of protest on Dec. 8 and 9.

The objective is “to disrupt business as usual and demonstrate the broad and growing public support for a free Palestine, including marches, pickets of war profiteers, direct actions and other forms of protest,” the ANSWER Coalition noted in a media release ahead of weekend calls to action.

“The gap between public opinion and the actions of politicians is huge and growing—opinion polls show support for a ceasefire above 60 percent, and yet the Biden administration is so far refusing to budge from its policy of full participation in the genocide against Gaza,” the media release stated.

“Israel has resumed its massacre in Gaza with full backing of the U.S. government. We refuse to accept this and will continue to mobilize to exert pressure across the country, inspired by the steadfastness of our people in their heroic resistance to Israel’s genocidal violence. It is clear that not only the people of the U.S. stand with Palestine, but the majority of the world rejects apartheid, genocide, and the entire occupation,” said Yara Shoufani of the Palestinian Youth Movement, according to the release.

Brian Becker, executive director of the ANSWER Coalition also pointed to the billions the U.S. continues to send to Israel calling it an “outrage.”

“We demand that money be used to meet people’s needs, not purchase the weaponry that Israel uses to murder Palestinians,” he said in part, according to the release.

Kobi Guillory is a part of the Chicago Alliance Against Racism and Political Oppression. “We are here at the car caravan to stand with Palestine, mainly to ask the United States government to end its support for their part with the Israeli regime which is committing genocide right now in Gaza. We are here in support of the Palestinian resistance not just in Palestine but also in the diaspora for which we’re surrounded by Palestinians right now.”

Jinan Chehade of American Muslims for Palestine added, “Business will not continue as usual as long as there is a genocide in Gaza. We are taxpayers. Our tax-paying dollars are directly funding the bombs that are currently falling on Gaza. We will not stop, we will not be silenced, we will not stop protesting until Palestine is free.”

A supporter by the name of Abdullah stated he was from Palestine. He told The Final Call that he has family and friends still in Palestine though they are not in the Gaza region and are doing okay. However, there are still issues on the West Bank, very limited cellphone and internet access, food is slowing down,” said Abdullah.

“I am Mexican and a mom, so it is important for me to show my daughter that we stand with Palestine and we stand with communities that are being oppressed and fight for liberation,” said a woman by the name of Valerie who attended the caravan protest in Chicago.

“I have a lot of classmates that I attend college with [who] are Palestinians and they have been speaking about this for years, and it was my ignorance that I was not paying attention. But I am paying attention now,” she said.

Final Call Staff contributed to this report. Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected].