Solidarity: when a group (or groups) of people are united by common motives, responsibilities, situations or are concerned by common issues, often as an act of support for a particular cause.
Personally, attending Leipzig Pride was my show of solidarity for the LGBT community in Germany. (Conal, Ireland)
I met most of the following people a couple of years ago, when I ventured abroad to do my Erasmus semester in Leipzig, Germany. The fact that I am able to give you their opinions on solidarity proves that connections on a deeper level don’t depend on cultural background, or distance for that matter, and that solidarity itself can be shown in many ways. This list consists of people I interacted with daily for long periods of time, from both at home in Romania and abroad; people I connected with over random walks and talks; people who took care of me in times of inebriation, as well as people with whom I did the crossword with and sang along with in the front seat of a car. There are even people whose dark humor spiced up my days and people I met waiting in line for a concert we missed, resulting in our exchanging of numbers. Therefore, this essay represents my definition of solidarity, seen through the eyes of people I care for.
In my opinion, solidarity is a concept of sharing, be it material goods or otherwise, between people whose common goal is to compensate for a lack of something without trying to benefit from it. It exists on every scale, from the European Union member states and the development funds, to the next-door neighbors who need an egg to finish baking their cake. It can be applied within and among social classes, generations, religions, sexualities and so on.
In my city, solidarity is everywhere. Poverty abounds in the streets, but people go on being happy, proud, brave, and caring. Even the most afflicted share the little they have by offering up their time, their desires and their passions. This non-institutionalized but ordinary solidarity makes everything more beautiful and peaceful. It has nothing to do with "extreme" outbursts of solidarity such as the one that took place in aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attack in France - when the people were indissolubly linked by solidarity for the duration of the shock – but to me, it is rather more important in day-to-day life.
For me, solidarity means responsibility for each other; knowing you can rely on each other in delicate situations. To feel solidarity is empowering and, moreover, it has the potential to build a strong connection between people.
After a very depressing year for me, my boyfriend and I decided to finally treat ourselves to a nice weekend in Berlin. We had not been in the city long when I came down with bad conjunctivitis and felt like returning home the same night. I assured him that it was not a problem for me to go back alone and that he should enjoy the long-planned weekend, but that was out of the question for him. Looking back, I am immensely grateful for the fact that we got through the situation together, and once again I learned how important it is not to hold on to plans too tightly. True solidarity is not experienced at times of ease. I think that those who realize this and also realize the beauty that can come out of such situations can consider themselves really lucky.
For me solidarity is remembering that there is a person in every stranger you meet.
There was once a time when I got thrown out of a restaurant. My friends and I might have been a little too loud. I had just bought a beer and barely gotten a sip, and now my beer had to stay while I had to go. However, a couple minutes later, I saw a friend of mine by the door. She was hiding my beer under her sweater and arguing with the doorman.
Growing up in a country where people rely on the state more than they do on each other makes one appreciate when people want to offer their help. Solidarity isn’t just a system that looks out for people in need of help or support; it should be something that can be witnessed in daily life.
For me, solidarity is the act of sharing, whether it's time, money or values with someone who needs it. It is also a way of life. There are many ways to be supportive: create a safe space for street animals, spend your free time talking to lonely old people, donating money or materials to people who need it. However, the most important thing is that being solidary is a choice. And, it can often affect your life negatively, but once you decide to choose this path, you will never be able to look at the world with the same eyes again. All the help we give comes back to us in the form of knowledge and experience. Knowing that gives me ten times more satisfaction than any conventional lifestyle. Solidarity for me is always the best choice.
Solidarity for me is rallying around someone or something. It’s the idea of coming together for a common goal, which can be any number of things. When you "stand in solidarity", you are making it known that you are in support of something strongly. I imagine that if you are in solidarity with something, you feel stronger about it than a lot of other things.
My example, and it may seem kind of silly, was from my senior year of high school, when I was really fed up with my basketball coach. I felt like he didn't respect my ability to potentially help the team, and that I should've been getting more playing time than I was. I had been venting a lot to my friends about my treatment and how frustrated I was. So, fast forward to our last home game: Senior Night. I had a handful of friends who came to the game to support me. As I mentioned, they knew everything I had been through. Throughout the game, they chanted and cheered for me, even though I was on the bench. Finally, during a majority of the 4th quarter, I got some decent playing time. My friends cheered really loudly and even louder when I scored. They took a picture with me afterwards as well; I have a huge smile in this picture because I was just so amazed and happy at the support I received. So, my friends came together in solidarity to support me and cheer me on for my last home game of my basketball career. It was really special for me because they knew what I had gone through and endured, and they liked me enough to show that in a fairly loud and excessive manner. Like I said, it may not be the most glamorous or exciting example in the world. But, for me, it really meant a lot, and still sticks with me to this day.
Solidarity is the feeling of having a solid ground under your feet in difficult situations, or even in daily life. It is feeling like your heart is safe, and that you’re not down on your knees in fear because you know someone has your back.
There are a lot of definitions for it but, the most important thing is that it is a non-prejudiced mutual feeling between people. It’s just guts and faith in human nature.
To me, solidarity means being there for your fellow human being even when you feel like punching him in the face. I think the essence of solidarity lies in a dynamic of equality between people, based on compassion and collaboration. I don’t think showing compassion is the same as showing pity. If you’re giving someone your pity, you are not being solidary with him. It is only once you consider him to be equal and you treat him with respect that you are solidary.
Dilan, Sri Lanka
Solidarity can be as simple as parents donating their children’s old clothing, or, on a larger scale, like my friend working in a refugee camp, trying to make the life of the people there more comfortable. It could also be like this yoga teacher in my street who offers free lessons to the people living in the area. It’s essentially helping out without considering any social, political, financial or religious background.
To me, solidarity means being there for another person no matter what. It means supporting or helping, not because you expect something in return, but because you want to do it; because you’ve realized that in that exact moment, for this individual human being, you have something to offer. It could be anything from companionship, to help, to work stuff and so on.
The most profound example I can think of is when I moved from my last apartment to the one I am currently living in. At 8.00 a.m. on a Friday morning, a bunch of people were there to help me transfer all my furniture and personal belongings. They put up with my intermittent shouting and the fact that I wanted everything to be very carefully transferred in order to prevent damages.
For me, solidarity means being able to count on others and having them count on me because we understand that we share the same human condition.
It’s hard to be specific when it comes to defining solidarity. I feel like it’s more of a life philosophy. I guess I like cutting people slack when they're sick/ emotional… knowing that they deserve some time and understanding because I've been there too.
My heartfelt thank yous go out to each of the people involved in the writing of this essay for making it such a complex testimony to solidarity.