This "Solidarity Share" was presented as part of a Keynote Plenary at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. Solidarity Shares were created by pairs of Delegates from different communities across the globe, finding shared points of struggle, joy, and connection. We hope their stories inspire you to connect across borders, to see the ways that struggles in your community might benefit from solidarity with others.
Mia: My name is Mia Lei, and I am from North Carolina, USA. In my community, poverty is a challenge for global health.
In developing nations, 90% of health care expenses are paid out-of-pocket - the cost burden falls overwhelmingly on the poor. North Carolina paints a similar for the 450,000 people who do not have health coverage and cannot afford basic health care due to politics. Poverty affects health the same everywhere- global is local and local is global.
David: My name is David Maduri, and I am from Kenya. In my community, poverty is a challenge for education.
Poverty is a barricade to a education. Forty two percent of children in Sub-Saharan Africa will drop out before graduating primary school - this leads to unemployment, which affects their ability to afford education for their own children - it is an endless cycle.
M: Poverty is the underlying determinant of all of our issues - it affects and is affected by health, education, environment, and technology. It makes our issues intersectional. And that intersectionality requires solidarity from us. By addressing poverty and addressing our issues together, we can create a stronger movement for development and equity. Just imagine if our movements worked together - think how much stronger we could be.
D: Imagine if there was an initiative to support rural children around the poor Lake Victoria region to get an education and make a difference in their own communities. That is my non-profit - educationHOPE. Imagine how children can make better decisions about their own health and their own lives once they´re educated.
M: Now imagine that there were student organizations that educated us not only about partnership-based service models and health inequities, but also empowered us with the strategic negotiating skills to create health policy change in our own communities. Those are my organizations - GlobeMed and the American Mock WHO.
D: Change is not necessarily the huge expectations of the world today , but the inconsiderable shreds of motivation that one puts on another´s life to make them realize their purpose. The foundation of the better world we want for a tomorrow is the action we take today - we are the future of the world.
M: As the future of our world, it is up to us to make the world the better place that we imagine. We can make the choice to fight for the right to not just survive, but thrive. We fight for change for with those in poverty.
And while we may fight with the poor, we are rich in so many ways. Change does not happen without power – and we are rich in the power of our experiences. Change does not happen without determination - and we are rich in our passion. And change does not happen without people - and we are rich in our communities.
D: Yesterday, many of our discussions focused on knowing the community we work in and listening to them before acting. Thus, solidarity is required not only between our issues, but also within our communities. When we work in solidarity, we will get more done, but recognition is shared.
M: So the question that I have for you today is this – why are you here? Are you here to feel good, or do good? Because they’re not always the same thing. Let us be students that do good and fight for change in solidarity with our communities. We challenge you not to focus on being heroes and changeMAKERS, but servers and changeAGENTS that work in solidarity with one another.
D: Our issues require action. Our issues require intersectionality. And our issues require solidarity. Our challenge is to work together.
M&D: Our struggles are your struggles.