I’ve been thinking a lot about solidarity.
This week on campus is Sexual Violence Awareness Week, organized by the Goshen Student Women’s Association, and features a variety of activities, events and opportunities to say to those in our community affected by sexual violence, I stand with you.
This week also marks the launch of the Goshen Resident Identification Card program for the city of Goshen, an ID card that will be especially helpful for those who are unable to get other official forms of identification. The card is available to all Goshen residents, however, and is an opportunity to say to especially our immigrant community, I stand with you.
So, what does it mean when we ‘stand’ with an individual, a group of people, a movement? Are we literally placing our bodies on the front line next to each other and standing together in support?
But I think more often, and especially on campus, it looks like showing up for each other.
We have to realize that we’re all connected, that Sexual Violence Awareness Week isn’t just for survivors and that the GRID card isn’t just for immigrants. What affects my friend, my neighbor, my classmate, my professor, the person I don’t even know… it affects me, too.
I’m connected to my community, and when it hurts, I hurt. When it rejoices, I rejoice. At risk of losing credibility by quoting “High School Musical”: We’re all in this together.
In the press conference announcing the GRID card’s introduction, Richard Aguirre said it would “send a powerful message to immigrants and other vulnerable people that we stand in solidarity with them, and consider them part of our community.”
That’s what showing up does, even if you’re not directly affected. Especially when you’re not directly affected.
There’s lots of Bible verses I could quote about this, or other things I could reference, talking about how we’re all brothers and sisters and neighbors and whatnot, but I think Audre Lorde says it best.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own,” she said in a 1981 speech.
If you think you’re unaffected, look closer. If you think Goshen College is unaffected, look again. And let’s show up for each other.