On this episode, Byron Chung, our Executive Director, sits down with two phenomenal leaders in our community. Areej Masoud, a Christian-Aramean Palestinian, born and currently living in Bethlehem. Areej is justice oriented, takes action towards change through the faith-based communities she belongs to, and is passionate in raising awareness and promoting Palestinians’ struggles through local and public speaking events. Based on her experience in communication, development and advocacy, Areej is working on an online based startup in branding, communications and social media marketing in hopes she can help other startups rise, despite the economic restrictions the occupation forces upon Palestinians.
Reverend Michael Yoshii received the Pacific School of religion Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002, recognizing his pastoral leadership and social justice activism, including work on local racial justice issues, LGBTQ equity, and affordable housing activism. In post retirement Ministry, he serves on the International Committee for human rights in the Philippines Global Council, and is a co chair of the Friends of Wadi Foquin, a partnership started in 2009 through Michael’s previous congregation and other United Methodist Churches with the Palestinian village of Wadi Foquin located southwest of Bethlehem on the green line. Wadi Foquin is a small and actually somewhat obscure village — but is emblematic of much of the West Bank Palestinian agricultural/farm reality. It’s a microcosm of the larger Palestinian reality. Michael first met Areej in Bethlehem on one of his trips to the region, and a their connection has been fortified through solidarity.