How Do Young Feminists #Practice Solidarity?

#PracticeSolidarity is an AWID-led campaign exploring what solidarity means for young feminists across gender, racial, economic, social and ecological justice movements.

Practice Solidarity Image

On June 21, we kicked off #PracticeSolidarity

A day-long tweetathon, brought together feminists across movements and generations to exchange on what solidarity means, and share stories from organizations and individuals that advance solidarity and collaborative work. 

Tweet from RESURJ

— RESURJ (@RESURJ) 21 June 2016

Tweet from CAL

— CAL Secretariat (@CALAdvocacy) 21 June 2016

Tweet from Majandra

— Majandra Rodriguez (@majandrraa) 21 June 2016

Tweet from Love Matters

— Love Matters (@LoveMattersHQ) 21 June 2016

Throughout the day, feminists shared, through tweets and blog posts, personal and concrete examples of how #PracticeSolidarity can look like, through smaller gestures in their day-to-day lives, all the way to imagining what feminist futures look like. Here’s an excerpt of a blog post called Solidarity: binding multiple cause, identities and struggles together that was written for #PracticeSolidarity:

“Solidarity means recognizing the efforts of fellow feminist friends and allies and publicly appreciating their work. It means being curious to learn more about the injustices that my fellow activists face. It means embracing someone’s struggle, as an ally or supporter, even if you haven’t experienced that particular form of oppression. It means stepping back and creating space for more marginalized voices to lead. It means learning to pause and reflect on all that we have accomplished together so far. And it also means taking care of ourselves and others so that we sustain ourselves to continue to show up for each other, until justice for all has been achieved.”

Deepa Ranganathan, a young feminist in India and Frida | Feminist Fund’s Communications Officer, shares her thoughts on #PracticeSolidarity.

With the campaign, young feminists are reflecting and expanding on their own experiences with solidarity, while trying to push the boundaries of feminist and women's rights movements. This following quote is an excerpt of a blog post titled Acknowledgement for Yesterday, Solidarity for Tomorrow, 

“We must reflect on what solidarity means and practice it toward the past and the future. Toward the past, in solidarity with the first feminist struggles, preserving the memory of women who took the first steps within our movement toward women’s liberation and securing our rights. And toward the future, repositioning those same struggles, so that new feminists do not lose sight of the shackles that still bind us, and how they continually take on new forms.”

Tatiana Sibrián, young feminist lawyer and graduate student in Human Rights and Peace Education in El Salvador. 

Powerful ways to #PracticeSolidarity

Practicing solidarity manifests itself around the world and presently, we are reminded of two powerful instances.

When we think about the voices with the most reach (those that have mainstream feminist reach) we are often confronted with cisgender, heterosexual, white women who do not center experiences and voices of black women and communities. But that’s where transnational black feminisms are a really important example of the embodiment of meaningful solidarity. Through movements like Black Lives Matter (started by three black queer women), we can see a growing number of links being made between African American women and women of African descent which creates spaces for solidarity across borders. Recently, Black Lives Matter activists travelled to Rio de Janiero in Brazil to support Brazilian black activists in their struggle against police violence ahead of the summer Olympics. Daunasia Yancey, one the Black Lives Matter activists, said: “What brought me to Brazil is the fact that the struggle for Black Liberation is global. And here in Brazil, people are uniquely facing homicide rates by police that are astronomical. And we wanted to show solidarity.”

Another powerful example of grounded solidarity is the queer solidarity with Palestine which works tirelessly to break Israel’s pinkwashing. Recently, the group AlQaws, which advocates for sexual and gender diversity in Palestinian society, participated in a campaign run by Pinkwatching Israel called “Boycott Tel Aviv Pride 2016.” The campaign’s aim was to bring attention to the fact that Israel says it welcomes homosexuality but that cannot overshadow the fact that they have also been illegally occupying Palestinian land, restricting the mobility of Palestinians, bombing Gaza and demolishing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.

In May, the YFA program at AWID participated in Chouftouhonna, an International Feminist Art Festival in Tunis. There, we meet with young feminists and interviewed them about solidarity. Here are two interviews: the first is with Nico Silva from Chouf Minorities in Tunisia, and the second with Mpumi Mathabela from the One in Nine Campaign in South Africa.

As Sara Ahmed defines it, “Solidarity does not assume that our struggles are the same struggles, or that our pain is the same pain, or that our hope is for the same future. Solidarity involves commitment, and work, as well as the recognition that even if we do not have the same feelings, or the same lives, or the same bodies, we do live on common ground.” 

Are you joining us in Brazil?

As we look  forward to the 13th AWID International Forum, the Young Feminist Activism (YFA) program at AWID wants to bring into focus what solidarity truly means, by discussing and debating the meaning of and deconstructing how and why we #PracticeSolidarity.

The Young Feminist Activism Pre-Forum Day, on September 7, includes a panel on breaking silos and working across movements in partnership with RESURJ; a panel on artivism & solidarity, moderated by Nigerian feminist artivist and AWID Forum Program Coordinator, Amina Doherty, and featuring artists like Panmela Castro and the Fearless Collective; and a “Solidarity Marketplace” giving participants the opportunity to explore solidarity in smaller groups and more intimately together. 

None on Record will also be interviewing young feminists at the Forum on how they practice solidarity, and what kind of solidarity they need, to produce a mini documentary on #PracticeSolidarity. 

It is this commitment to the hard work of analyzing solidarity through an intersectional feminist lens and recognizing that solidarity is about more than just listening and learning but rather giving real space for marginalized communities to speak for themselves without being drowned out, that we are hoping will transpire through this campaign.

Through all of these activities and more, we plan to continue promoting young feminist discourses on solidarity, as well as practices, that do not separate themselves from struggles against colonialism, racism, sexism, homonationalism, Pinkwashing, islamophobia, cultural imperialism and neoliberalism, and to advocate for concrete cross-movement solidarity and joint action. 

Stay tuned!

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