The Michael Israel Memorial Fund

For: The Israel Family
Sacramento, CA
Organizer: Sacramento Antifa
The Michael Israel Memorial Fund (The Israel Family)
of $7,500 goal.
Raised by 103 donors
68% Complete

The Story

On November 24th, 2016, beloved community organizer Michael Israel was killed serving the People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. Michael was from Motherlode California, and was on his second tour in Syria as part of an effort to fight fascist powers there including ISIS- he planned on staying for several months as an international volunteer before returning home. He died alongside fellow international brigade member Anton Leschek and several Kurdish YPG defenders after being targeted by Turkish airstrikes in western Manbij. He was just 27 years old. The community that Michael left behind is a broad one- in addition to his volunteer work in Rojava, Michael was also involved throughout the years in local groups such as the Motherlode Progressives, Occupy Sacramento, Sacramento IWW, the Anti-War Movement, SEIU, and the Democratic Socialists of America. He was a shining example of virtue in his community, and a comrade to many. His friends and family grieve him deeply, and remember him tenderly. Michael was hell-bent on changing the world for the better, and hell-bent on giving back more than he took at the end of the day. Though his time was short, his success is evident in the impact he made on those around him and the causes he was dedicated to. This page will be updated as those mourning process the situation and get a better idea of what expenses will need to be covered. All funds raised will go directly to Michael Israel's family to cover memorial costs, and to honor him and carry on his legacy appropriately.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 16, 2017


Posted on January 16, 2017

On January 11th, Michael’s body finally arrived in California. A funeral procession comprised of Sacramento and Bay Area activists, the Kurdish community, and Michael’s friends and family came together to accompany him from the San Francisco Airport to Lodi on his final journey home. Over fifty people took part in the long-distance procession, traveling in cars, vans, and buses festooned with YPG and anti-fascist flags, flowers, and pictures of Michael. Mourners gathered at a staging area to decorate their vehicles while his parents went through the lengthy processes at the airport. As is tradition, small photos of Michael were passed around and pinned to lapels, and kurdish music was played. A moment of silence was taken when the hearse arrived, and then the final leg of the journey was underway. The procession finally came to an end at a funeral home in Lodi, and was met by even more friends, family, and supporters who came for the visitation. The casket was set up and decorated with flowers, and members of the California Kurdish Community Center stood by bearing flags as a second moment of silence was called for. Many who were close with Michael stood up to say a few words, sharing their fondest memories of him, what they admired about him, and what his life meant to them. Stories were shared underlying Michael’s humility, his quick wit, his selflessness, and his dedication. Above all, these stories reminded us of Michael’s humanity, despite the hero status he has in some ways gained. Michael hated the idea of being seen as a hero- so if we see him that way, let it not be because our vision is clouded by the idea of him as a perfect person- let it be for how he changed those around him, and for how he chose to live his life.

After the speaking was over, those in attendance paid their respects to Michael and his parents, and everyone was invited to a nearby banquet room for pizza and refreshments to end the night. Many people who cared for Michael contributed to honoring his memory in countless different ways that day- in memories shared, support given, and gifts brought. The CalKurds showed their solidarity with Michael’s family by providing for much of the celebration, including the food, decorations, and printed remembrance cards for all the guests. The cost of funeral home services and the pictures that decorated the vehicles will be paid for by this memorial fundraiser. We want to give another big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far- Michael’s parents have expressed deep gratitude for the overwhelming support, and are touched by the solidarity shown for him. Two celebrations of life are still set to take place this spring. More photos from the funeral procession can be found in our gallery!

Posted on January 7, 2017

Posted on January 7, 2017

A brief reminder to contributors: when donating anonymously, your personal information is hidden both from the public and from us. So, if you donate $50 or more anonymously and you would like a thank-you gift, please email us at [email protected] with proof of your donation. Thanks!

Posted on January 3, 2017

Posted on January 3, 2017

We want to continue to thank everyone for the amazing and ongoing support- one month in and we are already over halfway to our goal!

We also have some new incentives that have been generously donated by Rojava Solidarity NYC. They have donated shirts, tote bags, stickers, palm cards and a book on the Rojava struggle, A Small Key Can Open A Large Door. We have 2 shirts, 6 tote bags, and 8 copies of the book available. Each donation of $50 or more from here on out will get you your choice of a book, tote bag, or T-shirt as supply allows. We will also include a sticker of your choosing and a palm card with each package. Here’s what we’ve got:

-14.5”x15.5” ‘long live rojava’ canvas tote bags. The bags have sturdy fabric straps and are screen printed on both sides.

-100% preshrunk cotton ‘long live rojava’ shirts, both in a size large. (these shirts run small, and are probably more accurately a medium.)

-Copies of A Small Key Can Open A Large Door, an essential reading on the rojava struggle published by Combustion Books.

-Two varieties of stickers; one “resistance is life” sticker, and one honoring the martyr Asia Ramazan Antar, aka Viyan Antar, a kurdish female fighter who was killed by Islamic State militants in August of 2016.

-4”x6” Palm cards with photography of a YPJ fighter on one side and a brief summary of the rojavan situation on the other.

Pictures of all items can be found in the gallery. Please continue to share this fundraiser far and wide- we appreciate any amount donated whether large or small, and are excited to be able to put it toward honoring Michael.

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