While thinking about our activism, we interviewed our peers who have participated and engaged in protests. We wanted to address what solidarity was and how movements here are relevant to movements in other places of the world. One of the issues that we see brought up is in regards to gender. Worldwide, we are fighting for things like women’s shelters, wage gaps, domestic violence, sexual assault, inequalities in the labor force- femicide.
Given that there was the Women March after the inauguration and the most recent one being on March 8 which was international and which the Ni uno Menos collective also participated in, we thought it would be good grounds to help us define what solidarity is and what activism can be even if its not necessarily physically demonstrating or being present at marches, protests, sit ins, etc.
The Ni Una Menos ( translated to Not One More) collective in Argentina developed out of the yearly Womens meeting in Argentina, which brings women together to share experiences on all the causes that they advocate for. This includes women for labor justice, anticapitalist protesters, Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo who fight for government accountability of their disappeared relatives during the dictatorship.
Similarly, The Womens March took place all around the US in January after the inauguration of the current president, where it is estimated that over 2million people across the world took to the streets, there was a call for action once again. A call for an International Womens March. This calls for solidarity with women, members of the lgbtqa+ community, sex workers, muslims, immigrants, People of color, and anyone who the current presidential regime will continue oppressing. This was a day of action not only dedicated to ending gender violence and gender inequality, but also promoting reproductive rights, an end to non-inclusive feminism, labor rights and rights for everyone.
We thought about how these events would affect our daily lives, and also how they might affect people everywhere. One thing we went ahead and did was ask those peers who have participated in both of these protests the following questions:
-As a foreigner, what is it like participating in a protest abroad and did it change your outlook on activism or shape how you want to enact your own activism at home? What is it about these movements (that you participate[d] in) that move you?
-How do you think that the women’s march affected women in other parts of the world?
-How can women’s rights be an inclusive space/topic?
-What does solidarity mean to you, and how would you imagine society working towards it?
Our answers varied, we definitely saw that standing in solidarity meant a lot to the faces that surround us. Being an activist was one thing but being able to partake in issues that face women in South America as well changed the way they saw themselves as protesters.
“As a foreigner, and particularly as a US citizen, participating in a protest abroad opened my eyes to the various violations of human rights that occur on a daily basis. Not only is the frequency to which they are violated, but how incredibly basic these rights are. Rights that I as a US citizen, constantly take for granted. It also changed my outlook on activism as it opened up the opportunity I have for using my voice in politics. In the US protest and social activism played a crucial role in the Civil Rights Movement, and since then it seems as the though the people have been silent. Thankfully this important conversation about protest/activism has become open again with the Women’s March that took place a couple of weeks ago or the Protest against Trump’s Muslim Ban. Two events that I proudly took part in.”
~Anonymous, UC Santa Barbara