We often think about ourselves as activists only when we participate in protests, but there are many ways in which we can show solidarity towards the causes we believe in. Throughout our interview process, we found that participating in protests from abroad allowed students to have a different idea about what solidarity meant to them and how they would decide to partake in issues once back in their countries of origin.
“Solidarity is a complex term, it requires patience, determination, and empathy to understand it fully. Solidarity to me means standing up and supporting your fellow sibling, that might be of a different marginalized group than you. But it also means knowing when it is not your turn to speak, and instead listen and learn. I see society working towards this slowly, as queer, racial, gender, class movements begin to acknowledge one another and work in conjunction rather than opposition.”
Luis Gonzalez, UC San Diego
We wanted our peers to interpret what solidarity meant to them and we also wanted those who have participated in demonstrations abroad to define their role as foreigners and to allow us to supplement our ideas of what it means to build solidarity from abroad and how to do it. This is not limited to activism that requires presence, we wanted to talk about solidarity beyond going to a protest, armchair activism and even what your role is as an activist when you’re not present in the country where the demonstration is occurring.
The day after I went to the Ni Una Menos march, I remember watching the news in Chile and hearing about other successful marches in Buenos Aires, Bogota, Mexico City, etc. that happened on the same day. I think one of the primary ways that the march helped was through showing the tremendous amount of solidarity that was present. Not only that but the protests brought awareness to countless topics, like rape, femicide, and birth control/family planning.
When people see that their actions in another country are making sense and tying networks of protesters together, their activism is redefined. They start to look at issues that are transnational, and realize that one step forward in their localities may not mean a step forward for the same group in another country.