Solidarity is a word that has been thrown around a lot lately. Not necessarily in edtech, but as it relates to this country and the division and sides/groups/causes that are being selected by individuals. With the climate of this country, definitive lines are being drawn and the unfortunate and blatant ugliness is manifesting itself in bans, bigotry, and bullying behavior. In order to handle the chaotic and corrosive nature of current times, I believe people, especially educators, must ground themselves and solidly stand with a group of like-minded individuals or a cause to combat overwhelming feelings of anxiousness, disappointment, and frustration. To clarify my understanding of the term solidarity, I looked it up recently.
When examining the definition for solidarity a few words stand out: “unity of feeling or action” and “mutual support.” The feeling part of this definition kinda threw me off, mainly because feelings can be fleeting. I’ve worked with middle school children most of my career and have a four-year-old at home, so I know first hand that feelings change as often as underwear or the wind blowing. Solidarity, in my opinion, is more than feelings and moves a person and unifies a group to consistent, visible action on behalf of a cause. If one is in solidarity with a group or a cause, their support of that group or cause does not waver like feelings often do. Solidarity is not silent and does not pop-up all of a sudden, it is always consistent, supportive, loving, and empowering. True solidarity includes people who are willing to have your back all day, every day. True solidarity includes people who willingly speak up on behalf of the mutual interest of the group frequently, not just on a whim or because it seems cool to do. People truly “about that life” and in solidarity with a group or cause understand and appreciate doing work that is not always seen and praised, but its impact is always felt. Their unified passion for the cause or movement is always authentic.
My first Educon experience was absolutely amazing. To be surrounded by so many gifted minds for the weekend was really humbling. To also be surrounded by authentic solidarity and love all weekend was so surreal. The solidarity I felt with Educolor members during Educon was so emotional and also mental. It was deeper than feelings as it kept me excited, on my toes, and nervous while it also soothed and nourished my soul. The only real disappointment for the weekend was not being able to see my good friend Rusul and getting to facilitate a session with her. I completely respect her reasons for not attending Educon and Educolor members showered her with extra love and messages during the weekend.
Highlights of my first Educon include:
- Meeting many members of the Educolor collective in person for the first time. It was surreal to be face to face with people I have conversed with only online but I respect and have learned from over the last couple years. Our interactions reminded me of the importance of the work and struggle our group members deal with daily. The combination of sharing victories and speedbumps was empowering and rejuvenated my spirit immensely.
- Being told by Jose Vilson that he “believes in me.”
- Hearing from the amazing students of SLA during the conference. Their confidence, knowledge, and passion were a highlight of many in sessions.
- Listening to wisdom shared by Audrey, Bill, Jose, and Gary during their sessions.
- Educolor family dinner.
- Baby Xio…..enough said.
- Co-facilitating my first Educon conversation with the amazing Jose Vilson. Although I was completely freaked out, it was such a wonderful conversation and I was humbled to be a part of it.
- Very candid and sometimes comical conversations during meals and walks with Mel, Larissa, Xian, Erin, Gabriel, Annie, and Edwin.
- Sunday’s panel with Deb Meier and Renee Moore as panelists…..mics were dropped repeatedly. Knowledge shared was memorable and amazing.
- Being able to visit Philly for the first time. A tad too cold for this southern girl, but very cool city.