Music, media and the arts overall are a global language. The youth respond to these arts and they are listening to the artists....so lets give something to both-the artists to create art relevant to what's happening to the youth and give the youth a way to express what's happening to them peacefully.
Who Are We?
Existence is Resistance Our Mission Statement
Existence is Resistance (EIR) was founded in 2009 following the grotesque offensive bombing attacks on Gaza. While the bombing was still going on, we quickly organized a relief concert in New York City raising a few thousand dollars for the victims in just two hours. After seeing the diverse crowd and unity of the attendees and all that were willing to help, we quickly realized the power of music and artistic expression in the context of oppression. EIR promotes and implements this theory in all past and future projects. EIR strives to unite marginalized youth globally with outlets in the arts to express, process and improve their situations. Our organization is here to work in the communities of those under going oppression while recognizing the empowering artistic talents of the people, we feel that one must acknowledge that inspiration is the key to expressing these talents, and the proper tools to find ones ability is the catalyst for great change. An empowered society is a powerful society.
What Do We Want To Do?
Living under occupation, creative expression is often stifled. Lack of funds,
violence and other obstacles regularly prevent school-aged youth from expressive, artistic activities that belong to a healthy childhood. We believe through culture, arts and shown solidarity, these children facing adversity will become inspired to create the society in which they deserve to exist. Existence is Resistance is hoping to conduct its 2012 Tour for ten days expanding the cities visited in previous years, increasing the variety of workshops to include filming, editing, web-designing and ensuring that there will be at least one instructor in each youth center EIR works with to continue the programs. EIR hopes to again donate laptops and cameras (specifically flipcams) to each youth center. Tours of each city will be conducted earlier in the day with a local to explain each cities history and current situations, workshops will commence for 5 hours a day ending with a show every other evening in which the children who participated in the workshops also perform with the artists to show what they learnt. The children’s footage filmed during the entire tour will be used in our next documentary.
We have some amazing artists interested in going this year, all of which are donating their time and efforts. Funding is strictly for the transportation, hiring of the buses in the West Bank, food and accomodation which we purchase 100% from the refugee camps. Most money goes on the purchase of laptops and cameras in the West Bank at a Palestinian-owned business. Bearing in mind it is a little more expensive there but we do want to keep all monies there if possible.
Financial reports are available each year upon request for all non-profit and foundation grants within a few weeks of returning from the tour. Individual donors are also eligible to view our extremely transparent reports.
How Can We Get There?
6 Ways To See Our Project Through
1. Donate, anything you can, even just $5
2. Donate Airmiles!! Please if you have them to spare, donate airmiles to sponsor youth or an artist to come on this life changing experience.
3. Buy a t-shirt. We silk screen our t-shirts by hand in Brooklyn, NY. http://www.existenceisresistance.bigcartel.com/
4. Screen our film at your University or College. Many of you have funds to screen independent documentaries with educational value. Host one!
5. Screen our film in your home with a crowd of 10 or more! This is hosting a really intimate showing of Hip Hop Is Bigger Than the Occupation and pooling some donations together. All hosts get a fre EIR t-shirt!
6. Share! Share! Share! Sometimes we cannot donate, BUT we can be in solidarity!
The artists we have taken in the past have continued their work participating in full tours around the US including panels which they talk on their trip to the West Bank, what they saw and how it changed their life. They also keep in touch with the youth in Palestine which keeps both parties motivated and empowered.
The artists blog from the trip also back home....here are a couple of powerful entries:
“24 hrs” Gaza Strip July 2009
In July 2009, Existence is Resistance took a small delegation of Hip Hop artists with a humanitarian convoy to the Gaza strip. Dealing with stressful situations whilst being stuck in Egypt for 8 days, after days of negotiations, the convoy was eventually permitted to enter Gaza for only 24 hours. During those 24 hours EIR took the artists to the home of a Palestinian artist which had been bombed and resulted in his fathers death. EIR also took them on a complete tour of the destruction and beauty of Gaza and its people. The artists talked to Gazans at a prisoner center where mothers, children and others who have lost loved ones and performed before leaving at a Gaza Hotel.
“Bus Stop Hip Hop Tour” West Bank 2010
Existence is Resistance, The South West Youth Collaborative and The University of Hip Hop Chicago, came together last year and organized a ten day musical/artistic workshop and performance tour in the West Bank. The Seven artists from the United States/United Kingdom and the two youth performers from SWYC/UHHC conducted daily workshops with the children
in the refugee camps and occupied West Bank. The tour reached 6 cities, the performers of diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and of different faiths. The tour was documented and will be released on DVD May 2011 titled “Hip Hop is Bigger than the Occupation”. Donations from Caipirinha Foundation made it possible for EIR to purchase and donate musical instruments for the youth centers within the refugee camps.
“Freedom Tour” West Bank 2011
Existence is Resistance again raised funds to conduct a ten day tour throughout the West Bank with artists from the US and the UK. During the time there the tour visited "Nabi Saleh" and could not conduct the workshops, nor tour since the Israeli army came in and started firing all over. The tour was sitting in one house which was also gassed during this time. The tour was named the Freedom Tour in dedication to Juliano Mer-Khamis, Founder of the Freedom theater in Jenin who was murdered earlier that year. This year we donated laptops and flipcams to the centers we worked with teaching the youth how to film, edit and upload.