One of our main goals is to build a strong, mature, proactive and politically aware community. In order to create real change, we, as a fledging community must invest in building a strong, wide and diverse leadership that can lead our social change efforts and our "coming out" as an independent group.
Al-Qaws doubled, since 2007, its local groups from two groups in Yaffa and Haifa to include two additional groups in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. All of our groups meet once or twice a month and are coordinated by local leadership. Every group has its own unique qualities and priorities that distinguish it from the other groups. We are committed to providing platforms for local leaderships to facilitate local processes that fit their unique needs and contexts.
We plan to maintain these groups, strengthen the local leadership roles, and develop meaningful content and structured group processes. We will continue providing a framework and safe space to bring together activists in a cohesive group that has established trust and a deep sense of connection and solidarity. We also are aware that, beyond the complexity of our community in general, different members within our community may personally be at different stages at different times, and may move back and forth within the process.
Activism in Al-Qaws
Al-Qaws aspires to be a platform for activist's initiatives, a space where members can translate their passion into actual actions. This requires from us to work consistently to maintain an open and flexible group and an accessible organization. We believe this attitude will actually engage others in our daily work and will make Al-Qaws a vivacious place.
At the same time, we are working to make our organizational processes accessible and transparent to all community members. We believe that promoting ongoing dialogue with community members around long-term planning and decision-making will increase community members’ feelings of belonging and involvement in Al-Qaws.
Leadership Development "Who are we?"
In order to build a community and a leadership infrastructure, it is crucial to facilitate an ongoing dialogue with community members and provide a space in which to share with and engage the community in the project's core decisions.
Al-Qaws is planning to invest much effort in the coming years in strengthening and diversifying the leadership infrastructure so that it will more accurately reflects the diversity of our community. In addition, we plan to develop the leadership group’s skills through self-development activities and to establish strategies to promote community dialogue and partnership with other activists in Al-Qaws.
One of the main questions we are aiming to answer during the coming two years is, “Who are we?” Although it might seem, on the surface, a simple question, the issue of identity, especially for LGBTQ Palestinians, is incredibly complex. And so we are developing an internal discourse about our multiple identities and exploring the connections between our different struggles as LGBTQs and as Palestinians. We are planning to hold three self-development retreats on issues such as identities, the "other," diversity, etc. In addition to tackling issues such as this, we are planning in these retreats to engage members in organizational decision-making and planning processes. We believe that such direct participation will encourage our leadership to be more active.
Arabic website and Forums
Al-Qaws’s new website includes versions in Arabic and English. The Arabic website will provide information about sexual and gender identities, spaces for communication and discussions, a culture and arts section, health information, and more. The English section will speak to non-Arabic speakers and introduce them to the complexity of Palestinian LGBTQs and their lives; provide information and resources for journalists, and so on. Additionally, we will use the new website to communicate with community members about organizational issues and new developments, upload reports, etc.