By Keri Labrant
Continued from Solidarity: What does it mean?
The word solidarity comes from the French word solidaire meaning interdependent.
Think about that for a minute…
What part of my life is lived in interdependence with the poor? How about the homeless? The addicted? What in my life am I relying on them for, believing them to have worth worthy of my dependence?
I believe that true solidarity requires community because that is where we begin to see peoples worth. There are some we may not be able to trust for a loan repayment but who can be trusted to provide laughter on a difficult day. There are some we may not be able to rely on to be on time but who we can rely on for safety on a dark walk home.
Solidarity, to me, means leaving easy generosity and casual commitment behind. It means actively speaking out for people who are not given the opportunity to speak for themselves and fighting alongside those whose rights we are desperate to attain.
To use the textbook definition, it is finding or choosing unity with the least of these that produces or is based on community of interests, objectives, and standards. That means that my interests, my objectives, and my standards are the same as those of the people I am fighting for.
It is no longer us and them it is we. I align myself with the needs of the people with whom and for whom Im fighting and, should the time come when my needs must be fought for, they will fight alongside me as well.
I see in myself so much prejudice. I hear so much in my speech and in my writing that reeks of us and them language. I view life through rose-colored glasses because I am the privileged. I am the one who doesnt understand what it means to be discriminated against because of my skin color.
I am the one who doesnt understand what desperation feels like, to consider even for a moment selling my body just once so I would be assured my children will have food the rest of this week or when asking for money on the street is the only possible way my kids can go on the field trip with the other kids.
I am the one who doesnt understand what it feels like to lose a high school friend to a neighborhood shooting. I am the one who doesnt understand the feeling of having a parent in jail. And I am the one who still relies on stereotypes because, even as I write about it, I still havent summoned the courage or the conviction to be involved enough to change my life.
I am tired of homogeneous schools. I am tired of homogeneous churches. To the best of my thinking, the kingdom of God does not look like me. It is multiracial and multinational. It is rich and poor but it is understanding. It is Harvard-educated and streetwise. People come from all sides of the tracks, have all addictions and no addictions, are married, single and divorced, and speak English, French, Swahili, Arabic, and Hindi.
God, hear the prayer of Your Son “I prayfor those who will believe in methat all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in youMay they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
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Keri is a 23-year-old adventurer completely dependent upon and addicted to the whims and whispers of God. Born and raised on Florida’s west coast, she graduated from Stetson University in 2006, and is excited to start at Duke Divinity School in Fall 2008. She is passionate about people and music, loves reading, writing, and learning more than she lets on, and blogs at Hold the Light.