Sometimes, we read about a certain event, protest, issue and we think “ Wow, I wish there was something I could do to help, to show I am also worried about the future of this movement/ group of people/ piece of land, etc.” We think “What can I do?” That is the premise of what solidarity towards a cause pushes for.
Merriam-Webster defines solidarity as:
- unity (as of a group or class) that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards
The history of political and social movements have always relied on networks of people that are fighting for the same things, trying to change the same systems and the similar experiences of oppression.
“Personally, solidarity means for those who identify with a specific issue based struggle or feel obliged to support to show up in their own capacity. For example, not everyone can put their body on the line at a protest due to physical or mental reasons or do not have the ability to donate or the accessibility to education but due to the fact they feel connected to an issue/ cause they will do what they personally can to support. “
-KP ~UC Berkeley
Standing in solidarity with the causes we are passionate about is important because it reinforces and magnifies movements. Depending on the movements themselves there are plenty of things that can be done to show that we care even if we can’t be physically involved. Our actions speak for the support we wish to provide, actions sometimes outlined by collective groups that organize the movements.
-You advocate for animal rights, what do you do to stand in solidarity with other animal rights activists?
You protest, donate to animal shelters, don’t eat meat, adopt shelter dogs. Volunteer time at your local shelter.
-You stand against Islamophobia?Learn about Islam, Muslims and minorities in America. Visit your Muslim neighbors or your nearest mosque. Speak out against anti-Muslim rhetoric and bigotry. Donate to aid Syrian refugees. Give a smile of acknowledgement.
-Native American/ #NODAPL action?Participate in direct action. Call your politicians, call those investing money on the pipeline. Donate money or items to funds that supply protesters.
Obviously, many of us are capable of showing solidarity in different manners. As students, as workers, as politicians, as disabled folks, as non-conforming people. We each have different sources that we can bring to the table when it comes to showing solidarity with a cause that we profoundly believe in and support. Sometimes we cannot be physically present and sometimes we cannot donate money because we simply do not have the funds, but becoming informed and informing others is also just as important.
“Solidarity, to me, is the power of the oppressed and marginalized peoples and has been for centuries. Solidarity and unity is the only way to fight back and resist institutions that are constantly trying to put us in a vicious cycle of poverty and oppression. I don’t believe I have ever witnessed a greater sense of solidarity between people of color than the one that has emerged since start of the new administration in january (and maybe even since the election). When there is a severe threat to the livelihood of a group of us, the primary weapon we have to fight back is our ability to stand together and reject the notions of racism, sexism and classism among others that are constantly trying to pull us apart. It doesn’t matter who it is, if a specific group of minorities is targeted, it takes all of our resistance to stop it from happening. Lately, this solidarity has been shown through the protests against the Muslim Ban trump attempted to enforce a couple of weeks ago. People from all backgrounds, ethnicities, occupations, showed up and demanded those detained to be released and allowed back to their families and homes. The thousands upon thousands of people that showed up were not directly affected by the ban, but they understood that an attack against one is an attack against all and that strength comes in numbers. Solidarity between strangers is what has allowed us to grow as a nation during difficult times of need, and it is this same solidarity that is necessary to pull us towards a brighter future.”
-J.C ~ UC Santa Barbara