Listener Candidate Statement

Samia A. Halaby (member of Al-Awda [Palestine Right of Return Coalition], NY Committee to Defend Palestine, and Al Jisser Group [cultural events]; painter, writer)

Click here for questionnaire

Samia Halaby

Samia A. Halaby

I am Palestinian, female, an artist, and activist who has been appreciating WBAI programs for over 30 years.

The uppermost reason I am seeking your support to be a member of the WBAI Local Station Board is to help maintain and expand the voices of the many communities in the tri-state area. I am most interested in programming that brings voices that have long been buried, voices of experience and wisdom that the mainstream cares nothing for, because they tell us the truth of their lives. For these reasons, I am proud to run on the slate of the WBAI Justice and Unity Campaign (www.justiceunity.org). Please vote for me and my colleagues in this precise order to maximize the impact of your vote:

1. Fr. Lawrence Lucas
2. Nia Bediako
3. Berta Silva
4. Ray Laforest
5. Marianela Tricoche
6. Bernadette Ellorin
7. Sam Spady
8. Samia Halaby
9. Imani Henry
10. Tibby Brooks

Radio that speaks, reads, reasons, discusses, and provokes argument is exciting to me. Radio that is thoughtful, questioning, honest, and unafraid when there is no easy answer is wonderful. It is vitally important that we hear the music and learn about the traditions of all parts of the world. I would see my primary job as one of safeguarding these qualities and promoting their growth.

The communities of our big city together form a pool of precious knowledge that has great variety, yet common experience. We find that we have in common our reaction to chauvinism. Racism hurts us all, as does elitism. We need WBAI to express our various voices as much as we need it to show us how much reason we have for unity.

My experiences are long and many. I taught art on the university level for 17 years. My activism, mainly in support of Palestine, dates from the early seventies from before I moved to New York in 1976. During the seventies and eighties, I worked with the Palestine Aid Society, a humanitarian organization.

I still admire them for having been first in the Palestine resistance movement to solicit the help of our Jewish brothers and sisters, and many bravely came to help. In the nineties, I helped organize cultural events under the aegis of Arab Women Artists, and recently, I have been working with Al-Awda, Defend Palestine, and Al Jisser - all activist groups advocating for Palestinian national rights.

From 2001 to 2002 I led Al-Awda as co-chair and devoted my time entirely to its growth. We organized numerous demonstrations, adding to my extensive experience organizing grassroots Arab leadership. Since 2004, I've mostly worked with the Al Jisser Group and succeeded in bringing a museum-level exhibition of Palestinian art to Chelsea, the heart of the New York art world. We worked for two full years doing fundraising events, and as a side benefit of this work, Arab culture in New York received a significant boost. After raising $100,000, we rented a space in Chelsea and opened our own gallery. We opened the space to grassroots organizations and many had events at the gallery. I will bring all my skills and experiences with fundraising to help the WBAI board raise more money in off-air events.

If you would like to sign my candidate petition or have any questions, please email me at samia@justiceunity.org.