Palestinian organization, Sporas, to host Land Day event in Waterloo
On March 11, Sporas is hosting Land Day, which is a day for the Waterloo community to celebrate Palestinian heritage through educational speakers, food, music, poetry and folklore.
Sporas was originally started in April 2022 by a fourth-year Laurier student who was completing her major in global studies and social entrepreneurship with a specialization in international development.
“I got the idea to create a community organization that helps Palestinians in the diaspora to get in touch with their culture, get in touch with their roots and their history, and to educate them about where they come from… [and] how they can be proud of where they are from,” the founder of Sporas said.
“I feel like we struggle a lot as Palestinians in the diaspora, or even the majority of Arabs in the diaspora as well, to get in touch with our culture and heritage, that’s something that I wanted to focus on so that’s what Sporas focuses on.”
The name, Sporas, comes from the word “diaspora” and it is also the meaning of the word in Latin. Their logo, “Sporas Scattered” is also relevant;
“Sporas Scattered is [about] how we got scattered after 1948… that’s where my logo comes from… we were blown away and we got scattered throughout the world, so we are in the diaspora now,” she said.
She said that their upcoming event, Palestinian Land Day stems back to March 30, 1976, when Israeli forces killed six unarmed Palestinians who were protesting the Israeli government’s decision to expropriate a large property of Palestinian land.
“Ever since that day, Palestinians have focused March 30 as the day for Land Day, because it showcases how we honour our land and how we commemorate our land,” she said.
“What Sporas is doing at our event is we’re going to educate the larger community on why it’s important for us to focus on our land, and why land is life to us,” she said.
“For example, our land gives us olive trees, it gives us our fruit, it gives us our vegetables, it gives us our culture, it gives us everything, that’s why we focus on land so much.”
She spoke about how strong one’s connection to their land is, and how seeing things like olive trees in Palestine being destroyed by the Zionist occupation is deeply hurtful for her community.
“We’re going to be educating our community on why it’s important to continue speaking up about our land and not to forget why it’s important that we focus on Palestinian homeland, and our right of return as well.”
Sporas wants to commemorate Land Day by celebrating the land through traditional music, food, poetry, and folklore, which will all be present at their event.
There will be speakers, including the founder of Zatoun olive oil (who is a farmer in Palestine), to talk about how farmland is affected by the occupation. There will be traditional dessert (kunafa) and vendors selling traditional olive oil and cultural Palestinian clothing.
“We are going to be having an Indigenous speaker that talks about the connection between Indigenous communities to their land [and] Palestinians connection to their own land,” she said, explaining how this will bring communities together.
Even though the event is focused on Palestinian heritage and land, everyone in the community is welcome to attend.
“I’m hoping […] that people get why it’s so important to commemorate Land Day, because our land gives us everything. If without a land, we have nothing to live for, almost because without that hope that we will one day return to Palestine, we will always feel like outsiders, we will always feel like we are not where we belong,” she said.
“By giving the KW community a place where we can commemorate Palestinian land, where we can commemorate what it means to be Palestinian and celebrating our culture and traditions, we will be able to bring the community together and understand that there is a Palestinian community here, which is something that I feel I haven’t felt before in a while, or ever.”
Registration for the event is now open and tickets can be found on their Instagram @sporascattered.