Solidarity Share- The Importance of Community

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.

Kendrick Okafor and Pedro Piqueras
Harrisonburg, Virginia, USA and Riverside, California, USA/Spain

My name is Kendrick Okafor and I am attending James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA. One thing about my community that I have always enjoyed is that everyone loves sports. Whether it is basketball, soccer or football, everyone is passionate about one sport or another. I have always been passionate about football or basketball but I could never get really comfortable with soccer; I was never the most talented person with my feet! One thing that always sticks out with me is that my friends asked me to join their intramural soccer team. While I obviously was not the best player on the field, they accepted me for my skills and we had a great time the whole season, almost winning the championship that season! The sense of camaraderie and friendship is something I really cherished and will always be thankful for my friends for.

My name is Pedro Piqueras and I am currently a graduate student at the University of California, Riverside. As a hobby, I play the violin and I am a member of a professional symphony orchestra. In my circle of friends, we all love music and making music together as a group. We even make good amount money sometimes playing at gigs and concerts! We don’t just play classical music; we play a variety of genres and sometimes we even make our own music. The circle of friends that the orchestra provides goes beyond just playing music. It is a group of brother and sisterhood, in which we all support each other during hard times and cherish each other during good times.

Although our communities do not have the same interest in common, we both belong to a group that helps us grow and cultivate our passions. While this might not necessarily be a challenge within our own communities, it is a social phenomenon that shows that the sole purpose of joining different extracurricular groups is not just because we each like different things, but also because we want to be part of a community that cares about us… and that is what we both have in common.

Our joy is your joy.