“Who Said It was Simple.” Audre Lorde.
Solidarity Work emerged from an internationalist and anti-racist women’s human rights organizing retreat held in May 2006, under the aegis of the University of California-Riverside’s Center for Ideas and Society. The retreat was envisioned as a space where activists/scholars could break bread and share their insights, experiences and analysis around internationalist women’s human rights.
When we met for that brief time in May 2006, it was abundantly clear that the two brief days we had together was a glimmer: an intense spark which signaled the possibility of other languages, other worlds. It was also abundantly clear that we needed to have more opportunities for intimate interactions, womyn to womyn: more spaces where international, global South and U.S. women of color could meet, greet, commune, eat, sing and laugh together. This, too, we agreed was vital for the life and power of women’s organizing for peace with justice—here, there, here. Wasn’t it Emma Goldman who said, “If I can’t dance, it’s not my revolution!”?
In emphasizing “solidarity” and “work,” together, we underscore the labor it takes for us to build understanding across considerable differences and divisions of power and status between us. We believe that creating such an “understanding”—and building towards solidarities—takes careful empathetic work that is, first and foremost, constructive and constitutive. We bring together a sense of “internationalism” to emphasize our connections to older histories of anti-imperialist connections between women of the North and South. We seek to honor these connections by speaking explicitly about state violence and by emphasizing the historically racist nature of that state violence against women and their families. We seek to build bridges across the deep chasms between “first” and “third.”
We are particularly interested in bringing together organizers who work on militarization in the broadest sense. That is, the ways in which state (and non-statist) violence, in our current historical moment, has normalized militarized violence through various institutional forms. We are also interested in the ways that women organize their daily lives (of labor, family, personal aspirations) against other forms of structural violence: poverty, isolation, illiteracy, illness and malnutrition—just to name a few effects of various forms of social violence against women.
We welcome you to this site—one of many “out there.” We believe that “solidarity work” embraces efforts towards plurality, open-ness and transparency. This is an “open-ness,” that is worked through critical dialogue, compassion and respect. It is, however, an open-ness that calls for various forms of accountability across the many borders of difference and power between us.
The website is constituted to further the work and conversations which emerged during this meeting—as a virtual, but still tangible, place where the forty-five of us can continue to commune. We are hopeful that Solidarity Work (ii) will happen again (in flesh and real space) and the energy we can spin from this website will build on the work of solidarity building in myriad ways. While we welcome others to explore this website, access to discussion groups will be closed. If you are interested in joining us, please send a note to email@example.com.
Speaking of work—we would like to thank Kelvin Mac of CHASS, UC-Riverside, for the splendid design of this website. Gracias and Anik Dhonobad!
For further information about our alliance and solidarity building work, please send snail mail to :
The Center for Women In Coalition
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