Stand with Reem’s: Support Oakland’s Arab Bakery that Tastes as Delicious as Freedom
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Reem’s Bakery in the heart of Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood is a place filled with laughter, living wages, and ridiculously delicious Arab flat-breads.
Recently, right-wing pro-Israel groups have aggressively targeted the bakery for its proud stance supporting Palestinian freedom and justice. In response to these vicious attacks and the growing national climate of Islamophobia and white supremacy, we here in the Bay Area and beyond pledge our support to Reem’s bakery and its amazing founder, Reem Assil.
We will continue to come eat at the bakery, attend the farmers markets, and order catering for our events. We urge other businesses and partners to continue to support Reem’s, rather than go along with these right-wing scare tactics. The other side operates on fear and smear campaigns. We have community and the sweet taste of justice.
WHO IS REEM?
Before she founded her bakery, Reem Assil was a longtime social justice and labor organizer here in the Bay Area. She is a community leader, a diehard Warriors fan (shout out to her special “Draymond Green man’oushe”), and to many of us, a dear friend. Rooted in her Palestinian and Syrian cultures, she is dedicated to her people – and to all people – and believes in the power of food to bring people together and create the space for social change.
WHO ARE WE?
We are Jewish and Muslim. We are Christian and atheist and Bay Area sun-worshipping priestesses. We are young and old, Black, Arab, Latin@, Asian, Native, Pacific Islander, white, and everything in between. We are from around the world, and from right down the block in Fruitvale. Wherever we are from, we are drawn to Reem’s because of the quality of its food, the quality of its people, and yes, its vocal support for women’s rights, immigrant rights, and justice for all the peoples of the Middle East.
Just in case it’s still not clear – many of us, including the author of this petition, are Jewish. We know anti-Semitism when we see it. That is not what we see at Reem’s. What we see and feel when we walk in the bakery is welcomed, proud, and most of all, excited to eat.
WHO IS RASMEA ODEH?
Reem’s is being attacked in part because of the bakery’s beautiful mural of Rasmea Odeh, a revered feminist leader and organizer in the Palestinian and Arab-American community who has survived decades of Israeli and U.S. persecution. As a student activist in 1969, Rasmea was arrested and tortured by the Israel military, who forced her to sign a false confession of a bombing in Jerusalem. After ten years in prison, Rasmea was released and came to the U.S., where she became a leading progressive activist in Chicago and beyond. Now she is facing deportation from the U.S. on (no pun intended) trumped-up immigration charges. Through it all, Rasmea has maintained her strength, resilience, and as you see on the mural when you walk in Reem’s, an optimistic smile on her face.
In this spirit, Reem’s is more than a bakery. It is a place of resilience, community, and joy in the face of oppression. It is a place for feminist Arab leadership and multi-racial solidarity. It is a place for all of us, to learn and connect and sometimes disagree – but always with love, respect, and some sweet Damascus lemonade for the road.
Who knew solidarity could taste this good?
Grab a friend. Grab a man’oushe.
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