Final Site Visits in Johannesburg, Conversations on Solidarity and Movement Building
Day 8: Johannesburg –Community Learning Visits
- Community visits – choice of focus on HIV and gender-based violence or prison abuse
Today was our last day of community visits in South Africa. The community visits continue to be where we have the deepest conversations with local residents, where we spend the most time building relationships, and where there are multiple opportunities for transformative experiences. Movement Makers had the choice of two visits: meeting with Positive Women’s Network and doing a learning exchange with women living with HIV/AIDS, or doing a site visit with Just Detention International South Africa (JDI), which is an organization that has been part of the current cohort via Vivian Jojola, as well as Cohort 2, via its executive director Lovisa Stannow. This exchange focused on the dignity and safety of people in detention.
To learn more about the Positive Women’s Network visit, click here.
To learn more about the Just Detention International visit, click here.
What both visits had in common was calling into question what it means to be in solidarity with other organizations and movements across the globe. To help share each other’s experiences and to make sense of what solidarity looks like, the Movement Makers gathered after dinner to reflect together. We opened with this quote from bell hooks:
Solidarity is not the same as support. To experience solidarity, we must have a community of interests, shared beliefs and goals around which to unite, to build Sisterhood. Support can be occasional. It can be given and just as easily withdrawn. Solidarity requires sustained, ongoing commitment.
One common theme was a new or renewed commitment to solidarity because that is the only real way to work toward justice. Phrases used by Movement Makers include: “none of us are free until all of us are free,” “I am her, she is me,” and “solidarity is the only way to change global systems.”
Despite this realization that we need to work in solidarity, there was also recognition that it’s hard and uncomfortable. We were reminded that solidarity is an ongoing lesson for us to learn and an ongoing exploration that we won’t get right most of the time, but that it is a journey we must be willing to take.
This international learning exchange was planned in conjunction with our esteemed partners at International Development Exchange (IDEX).