I propose that we make solidarity a verb.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, solidarity entered the English language in the early 1800s, from the French solidarité meaning “communion of interests and responsibilities, mutual responsibility,” from solidaire “interdependent, complete, entire,” from Latin solidum “whole sum,” from solidus “solid.”

I’ve tried to find an English word that expresses solidarity as an action, but I’ve come up empty-handed.

Check out these entries from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

  1. Serve: late 12c. “to render habitual obedience to,” from Latin servire “be a servant, be in service, be enslaved”
  2. Volunteer: 1755, from volunteer (n.). c. 1600, from the French voluntaire, “one who offers himself for military service.”
  3. Impact: c. 1600, “press closely into something,” from Latin impactus, past participle of impingere “to push into, drive into, strike against”
  4. Support: late 14c., “to aid,” also “to hold up, prop up, put up with, tolerate,” from Old French suporter “to bear, endure, sustain, support”
  5. Give: Old English giefan (West Saxon). “to give, bestow, deliver to another; allot, grant; commit, devote, entrust,” from Proto-Germanic
  6. Contribute: 1520s, “to give or grant in common with others,” from Latin contributus, past participle of contribuere “to bring together, add, unite, collect, contribute”

These last two come close to what I’m looking for, but they don’t go all the way.

We need a verb to express:

“The act of giving to the collective and ourselves simultaneously; honoring our interdependence; fulfilling our mutual responsibility to ourselves and the collective—humankind, non-humankind, and the planet.” I propose we use solidarity.

Solidarity-ing is not just giving to or helping others.

Instead, solidarity-ing is recognizing that our personal wellbeing is inextricably tied to our collective wellbeing and acting on behalf of our shared collective needs. Solidarity is the sentiment Lilla Watson and her Aboriginal Rights group from so-called Queensland, Australia, expressed when they said:

If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.

I believe that whether we recognize it or not, all people have a need to solidarity—to fulfill our mutual responsibility to ourselves and the collective in a way that honors our capacity, gifts, and callings.

To learn more about the support I offer to folks committed to showing up in solidarity, click here: Mentorship for Changemakers.


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