Solidarity: People, Places, Problems and Our Collective Power to Transcend

AIRE ended a great week today, Juneteenth 2020, having had an inspiring display of solidarity in crowdfunding the Burton Street Community Peace Gardens Solar (also here and here). We’ll be installing that solar project very soon. This successful effort has me thinking about common threads. I’m hopeful more people know the critical history of “Juneteenth” this year more than ever. Tomorrow is the summer solstice, an event that gives us the beautiful seasons, light and dark, every year without fail. We see those effects here in the northern hemisphere in solar power as the sun rises higher in the summer sky and shines longer each day until it crosses the equator again next time heading south at the autumnal equinox. (See this video on tilting solar panels!) This ride on our Blue Planet has always reminded me of wonders beyond mortal imagination and beyond science as the sole way of understanding. The coronavirus pandemic seems to rage on in the most technologically advanced country on the planet as if we’ve simply given up or worse, just don’t care for one another. Adam Thada, our friend and colleague in Indiana, shared a line from a recent issue of Harper’s Magazine referencing The Plague (Camus) that captures our predicament now:

“the fragility of all human arrangements, and the concomitant inability of most people to acknowledge this tenuousness until it is far too late for meaningful collective action… A pandemic, then, is an opportunity, at last, to see ourselves and our condition more clearly. If there is one, this is the virus’s silver lining.”

And so it may be. With so many pandemic-like calamities going on including climate emergency[1], coronavirus, wealth inequality, and structural racism, (regrettably that list is longer, but…) one idea has been repeating in my mind all day today, largely because I’ve experienced so much of it this week thanks to the Burton Street friends [2]– SOLIDARITY. So many people are acting on that enlightened moral necessity nowadays and that’s heartening. One person, though not alone thankfully, embodies solidarity at it’s best. She’s always leading by example and always in my thoughts– Sister Mary Baird, (here and here) pictured above.

Whether or not we’ll solve our multiple complex problems there’s one certainty; at some deep human level we do have a common thread and a source of power and it’s a collective “us” in SOLIDARITY.

[1] We don’t put a lot of stock in the International Energy Agency (IEA) work, feeling that it’s too conservative, too little too late. Nonetheless this is an eye-catching headline (IEA Chief Warns: Just Six Months Left for Green Recovery to Change Course on Climate
“This year is the last time we have.”) and worth the deep dive if you’re an inquiring mind.

[2] Many of whom contributed less than $10 and in doing so, showed what solidarity can do. We raised 135% of our $8,500 goal well before our deadline. Every dollar, every person matters.

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