What Building Solidarity Looks Like

What Building Solidarity Looks Like

It’s been two-and-a-half years
of relentless attacks. And I think that is actually the plan. The plan is to keep us exhausted
and flitting from here to there, so that we actually can’t focus
on what we want. That’s why the Solidarity Summit
is a great space because it actually makes us reflect
and stop being in this crisis mode. And think about what do we want to build? The folks who come to the summit
are frontline activists who are doing the hardest work on some
of the most difficult issues when it comes to racial justice
in the United States. Some are executive directors,
some are community organizers. Each of us brings
a different perspective and a different piece to the work. The summit offered a way for us
to build relationships, to learn about each other’s issues,
and to say, “Okay, we can actually talk
about these issues even if we don’t come from
those communities.” So someone who’s Latin-X
can talk about Islamophobia. And someone who’s Muslim can actually
talk about asylum-seekers at the border. It’s the antidote to disunity. Unless you’re sitting and
breaking bread with people and hearing what they’re looking for
and what they’re struggling for, it’s only then the lightbulb goes off
and you go, “Okay, well, that’s actually
what we’re looking for, too.” We have had income inequality
in this country and poverty and school segregation—
these issues have always existed. And it took people to feel
personally persecuted to then feel like they could
stand up in the moment. And that’s not what solidarity is. Sometimes solidarity is when you are
not personally persecuted and you show up for
a persecuted community. Solidarity means that we have to believe
that our own liberation is tied up with the struggles
and the liberation of people in other communities, and people in other movements,
and other sectors. This is the fifth summit that I’ve been to
and through this process, I’ve created relationships
with individuals who work at different organizations. We were under attack
earlier this year and some of the key organizations
that came to our aid were based on relationships I formed
at this summit years ago. Being here at Solidarity Summit
reminds me that there is community, that there is an opportunity to redefine
what solidarity looks like. And so I hope that this conversation can become something that
we demonstrate to the world in how solidarity truly is. Part of the idea of building solidarity
is really about a practice of showing up and loving for people
even during those moments of conflict. Our organizations operate
in different lanes, with different missions,
with different theories of change. I disagree all the time
and I welcome that. It makes me think more critically
about my own position. And I hope that part of what I bring
when I disagree is that someone else reflects
on theirs. There’s some pieces of vision
that we all share. So it’s been really interesting
to hear from people doing that work at a national level,
a hyper-local level, in different organizing traditions,
doing that work through base-building, through advocacy, and respecting
all of the different ways that people come into the work. But also hearing about what the
strengths and limitations are of all these different models. Part of what’s happening here is that
people’s idea of community —who am I a part of— is evolving, in part,
through the relationships. You cannot be a person that pushes
for black liberation without understanding what’s happening
to undocumented people, without understanding what’s happening
to queer and trans people, without understanding what’s
happening to women. Whenever you can gather
people together in the kind of political environmental
that we’re in, to have these kinds of deep, open,
honest discussions about our strengths and weaknesses as
communities and community organizers, the stronger the movements will be. The work of creating a more perfect union
is continuous and constant, and every generation plays its part. And we’re playing our part here. You can have a message of solidarity, but unless you’re able to act,
nothing is going to shift. It really needs to be a verb,
and it needs to be a practice.

Comments (1)

  1. Watch out when fighting a monster that you dont become the monster. Mr Soros. What is a country that is led by a small group of people that influence media and politicians for their own personal agenda? You are corrupt. You have become the next dictator in line.

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