On Solidarity and being “Local” Together
By Deshauna Hollie
“Solidarity means that no one in our community has to stand alone.” – Jody Money
I heard this definition of solidarity four years ago at a community meeting in Waco on immigration and it has stuck with me ever since then. I always seem to remember this quote around this time of the year. Monday is Columbus Day. It isn’t a day that I think much about, except to wonder whether government and city offices will be open. Although this year as I am being very intentional about ‘discovering Waco’ and all that it has to offer, Columbus Day has crossed my mind a little more frequently.
I recently viewed a TED Talk by Taiye Selasi entitled “Don’t ask me where I’m from, ask me where I am local.” Selasi discusses the complexities of having lived in and experienced life in many places that have helped shape her self and cultural identity. I grew up in Waco, but I have lived in Illinois, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts during various times of my life. I find myself migrating back to these places, because some of these are places that I consider home just as much as I consider Waco my home. So I can relate to Taiye Selasi’s request that you ask her where she is ‘local’ rather than where she is from.
As an adult Wacoan I am ‘local’ to North Waco and more specifically the Sanger Heights Neighborhood. I also have lived in South and East Waco. As a child I would have considered myself ‘local’ to those places as well. These places have helped shape my own self and cultural identity. In my discovering and embracing of life in Waco, I find myself becoming more engaged in my community and I think back to Jody Money’s quote on solidarity.
Taiye Selasi notes that people can be connected by rituals, restrictions, and relationships despite where they are from. In Waco I want to be connected to those people who don’t look like me, think like me or even live like me because I want to be able to stand in solidarity with them when they struggle. I want to stand in solidarity with them when they are ostracized. I want to stand in solidarity with them so that they will not be alone. I see this happening in small ways all over the city and I am glad that we, the Waco community, can be ‘local’ together as our community continues to grow and evolve in new ways. I suspect that for many locals, my discovery is in fact not a discovery at all but just a reflection of a community of people who care deeply about each other.
This Act Locally Waco blog post is written by Deshauna Hollie. Deshauna grew up in Waco and moved back a few years ago. Biking is her favorite way of getting around Waco, and she regularly writes poetry about biking in Waco. She is currently working on a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction.
The Act Locally Waco blog publishes posts with a connection to these aspirations for Waco. If you are interested in writing for the Act Locally Waco Blog, please email ashl[email protected] for more information.
Note: Selasi, Taiye. (2014) “Don’t ask me where I’m from, ask me where I’m local.” Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/taiye_selasi_don_t_ask_where_i_m_from_ask_where_i_m_a_local