As I think about solidarity, women’s solidarity, my solidarity, after 27 years of being identified as inmate 86G0206, I am immediately transported back into my 8′ by 10′ foot cinderblock cell. It was in that cell that I first found solidarity with self. It was where I began to understand and manifest the power and the ability to create change and where I found the autonomy to be a woman in solidarity.
My solidarity began as I awoke for the 5:30am mandatory count to find the sister-friend who went to sleep in the cell next to mine did not wake up to be counted; finding her dead in her bed made of steel as a result of a disease that knew no race, culture or gender and demanding response and answers.
My solidarity became tangible as I heard my sister-friends speak about the horrors inflicted on their bodies, minds, hearts and spirits; learning that I was not simply a victim, not just a survivor but, a soldier determined to be a voice to shame the misogynistic acts perpetrated by those we were led to believe to be our protectors.
My solidarity solidified when our desire for education and reason was taken by a system of thought that continues to disparage and vilify our very existence; telling us our place is in the kitchen and our bodies are created to be pincushions.
“My solidarity demands me to fly in the face of those who would accuse me of needing a “sugar daddy” in retaliation to my request for support as I choose to walk in my greatness.”
Women’s solidarity in prison is a juxtaposition of the solidarity of our sisters in Africa, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, Iraq and Palestine; each believing in and fighting for that life-affirming, self-liberating, carrot dangling ideal called justice. Our solidarity is tangible; it is the thread that creates the web of acceptance, visibility, respect and sisterhood.
Women’s solidarity is the harmony of our shared experiences, visions, goals and existence. Our cohesion is the power we use to demand the end of injustice of our-selves, mothers, grandmothers, sisters and daughters.
Women’s solidarity allows us to understand the criminogenic systems that continue to be constructed and ruled by patriarchy. Women’s solidarity allows us the voice to reveal the cruel and inhumane abuses perpetuated on our bodies and the indifference that are the responses to our cries.
Women’s solidarity motivates us to turn pain into power. We are not who others say we are; we are who we give Rise to Be(ing). We are unique and in our uniqueness lays our strength. The strength of a woman is in her ability to Rise; to Rise above the muck of a patriarchal society that endeavors to negate the creative Mother in all of us.
Women’s solidarity is not just a passe ideal of a group of people to advance political, social and artistic dreams. It is so much more than that. It is the living, breathing and creative force that allows us to mobilize and demand justness.
Women’s solidarity is the nonpareil movement of women who have the audacity to know and understand that the transient oligarchies that continue to exist will be jettisoned by the beauty that is US.
Women’s solidarity is not violent; it is borne of the peace that illuminates our reality…Women’s solidarity is the end of OUR alienation from the world WE birthed.
Our solidarity is your walk…my walk…our walk…let’s continue to WALK IN GREATNESS!