Sabreen Imtair rallied in San Francisco for her people's freedom more than 7,000 miles away.
Imtair said she was born in Palestine. Her mother and siblings first lived in the Kalandia refugee camp in East Jerusalem, a place rife with overcrowding, unemployment and "frequent incursions by Israeli Forces," according to the United Nations. Her grandmother has often spoken reverently of caring for the land, like the olive trees her grandfather used to nurture.
On Saturday, as Imtair joined several thousand others at a rally and march in the city, violence continued in Israel and Gaza, disproportionally hurting Palestinian lives.
"I am worried about them," Imtair said of her family.
The march in the Mission District took place in solidarity with similar demonstrations around the world.
Like Imtair, many at the demonstration in San Francisco were from across the Bay Area and other parts of the state, but trace roots back to Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Many of them called on President Biden to reduce aid to Israel because of its military assault.
Beginning with speakers and poetry at 16th and Valencia streets, the swelling crowd later marched down Mission Street, shouting "free, free Palestine!" and waving Palestinian flags, blanketing the street in red, black, white and green.
For days, Israeli airstrikes have leveled buildings in Gaza, and Hamas rockets have rained down on Israeli cities. Violence has erupted in mixed communities where Jews and Palestinians live.
After close to a week of violence, 188 people in Gaza have been killed, and eight Israelis killed, according to the Associated Press as of Sunday morning. More than 900 have reportedly been wounded.
The rally's date, May 15, also marked the Nakba, which to Palestinians means disaster or catastrophe, and refers to the displacement of about 750,000 Palestinians, according to estimates from the United Nations, shortly after the establishment of Israel in 1948.