Chants of “empathy is free” rang out during a an organized protest in downtown Stockton on Saturday to honor family members, friends, children, and natives of Palestine who lost their lives due to the attacks in Gaza.
Amirah Alaubali, a Stockton resident of Yemen descent, attended the protest with an open heart and a fighting spirit.
“I feel broken and hurt,” Alaubali said. “Empathy is free and I feel like that is the most important thing right now. I feel for my country of Yemen, but Palestine needs to be heard,” she said.
For 75 years, Palestine and Israel have experienced ongoing turmoil. The violence escalated after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel. The Israeli government said the attack killed 1,200 civilians.
Since then, Israel’s military has bombed Gaza daily in retaliation. This week, Palestinian officials said more than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza in the last month.
With the current situation at hand, many Palestinians in Stockton said they wish for spectators to educate themselves on the history of Palestine and Israel before commenting on the conflict.
Samia Ali, a Palestinian born and raised in the Central Valley, vocalized her disappointment with the lack of support from American leaders.
“I’m disappointed in the government and the American people,” Ali said. “I was born and raised here and I feel like people are a little uneducated about the Israeli situation. Palestine has been oppressed for so long and people need to know that,” she said.
Standing side by side along North Center Street, Stockton residents chanted and marched for Palestinian human rights, making it known that they are human too.
“They deserve rights just like everyone else,” Shereen Skafi said.