Solidarity Share - Cultivating Empathy

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.

Marie-Esther Buh and Kei Pritsker

East Orange, New Jersey, USA and Weston, Connecticut USA


My name is Marie-Esther Buh and I live in East Orange, NJ. In my community, literacy is a problem. Literacy is literally the possession of education. For most people in my community, a High School Diploma, GED or some college education is their limit and this affects their level of understanding.  

My name is Kei Pritsker and I am from Weston, CT. Empathy is a challenge in my community. Weston is one of the wealthiest towns on the planet. My community does not empathize with struggling people because issues like poverty and war only exist within our textbooks; none of it is reality.

Marie: The biggest worries in my community are what people decide to eat and looking fashionable. People only care about what Chinese restaurant to buy from or what weave to put on. Important issues like keeping the environment clean or teaching the young falls through the cracks.

Kei: There are members of my community who participate in charity and I’m sure they do so with good intentions but charity is not solidarity. Charity removes the top from the struggles of the bottom. Solidarity respects people. Solidarity emphasizes mutual aid instead of dictation. My community is privileged because we can allow global issues to slip through the cracks without facing the consequences. However, issues like poverty, climate change and armed conflict don’t cease to exist because they’re out of sight.  

Marie: Issues like poverty, climate change and armed conflict are a reality for my community.Without empathy, understanding and solidarity, these issues will remain unresolved.These issues don’t respect borders; they will spread from one corner of the planet to another. Nobody is safe until everyone is cared for.

Kei: Solidarity requires communities from all different walks of life to unite for a common struggle. We cannot do this alone. We want to work with you to explore the possible solutions.

Both: Our vision is your vision.