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Common Oppressions and Powerful Solidarity

December 2014

I joined the chants of “Black Lives Matter” last night, together with other staff of Grassroots International and several thousand other Bostonians, marching to the steps of the State House. This was my first demonstration since I came onboard as Executive Director of Grassroots International (two days ago!) and solidified the local-global links that are so central to this work.

For me, and for so many others who care about human rights and social justice, the issue goes far beyond Michael Brown or Eric Garner or a litany of other names on a case-by-case basis. The issue is the systemic devaluing of some lives and the protection of others in such a way that benefits some and subjugates others.  

This is not to minimize any single case – because each instance of injustice has its own unique and important aspects – but to recognize the disturbing commonalities of oppressions, and the powerful possibilities of solidarity.

The struggle for Black lives in the U.S., for peasant farmers in Guatemala, for Palestinian communities, for women seeking rights to land – the struggles are inexorably linked. And in my first demonstration as a part of the Grassroots International community, that link forged a stronger connection to the long cord that connects grassroots movements together. As our partners at La Via Campesina say, “Globalize struggle, globalize hope!”

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