December 28, 2016
"International solidarity is not an act of charity: it is an act of unity between allies fighting on different terrains toward the same objectives. ... Solidarity is an assertion that no people is alone, no people is isolated in the struggle for progress." Samora Machel
This past summer, despite the serious setbacks in the USA and the world, I experienced four inspiring weeks of leading delegations of U.S. activists to Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa. It was only possible because of the contributions, large and small, received from over 100 of you.
For all of us, whether in the Disunited States of America or in other countries also threatened by kleptocracy and "state capture" as it is called in South Africa, 2017 will be a difficult year. We will have both immediate demands to respond to escalated right-wing offensives and the difficult companion task of sustaining our spirits and our long-term visions. I am more convinced than ever of Samora Machel's reminder above—and the imperative to make enduring in-person connections across struggles rather than limiting ourselves to the instant communication made possible by technology.
Support building solidarity connections for 2017 and beyond!
Donate at http://tinyurl.com/lutacontinua
In addition to a week-long delegation to Cuba with 44 students, teachers, and parents from the Village Leadership Academy, I led two groups to Southern Africa, one including many younger activists who could not have participated without financial support through Making the Road.
The first delegation I led to Southern Africa was called “Unfinished Agendas: Liberation History And Today’s Struggles.” It was an inter-generational group of activists from the Black Lives Matter, gender, LGBTQ, Palestinian, and economic justice movements. The second group was made up of activist lawyers, law professors, and retirees, most of whom associated with the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). [For more about the 2016 trips, see below.]
The Road Ahead
I am fully committed to enabling more youth involved in struggle to expand their visions both in time and space through such encounters. This is not a "luxury" to be reserved to those fortunate enough to have funds to travel, but an essential component of building for the long term. To do that, I need your support, now as well as during the coming year. While MTR finally "broke even" in 2016, with recent commitments by donors, the clear lesson of 2016 was the need to begin earlier in recruiting participants and engaging the participants themselves in all aspects of preparing for the trip.
To have the flexibility to work on these plans, including paying for part-time administrative assistance to supplement volunteer efforts by my friends, my goal is to raise $5,000 by mid-January. Contributions to Making the Road are tax-deductible, and I hope as many of you as possible will include this in your end-of-year giving.
Go to http://tinyurl.com/lutacontinua to donate. Be sure to choose the designation for Making the Road. You can also send a check, made out to the South Africa Development Fund and designated for Making the Road, to SADF, 555 Amory Street, Boston, MA 02130.
I, and all who participated with me, extend our gratitude and re-affirm our commitment to continue the movement. We are more than ever convinced that our struggles must not be isolated and divided. We must combine our engagements wherever we find our homes with consciousness of solidarity and real connections to those on other fronts.
“Sizo Zabalaza!”, "A Luta Continua", "The Struggle Continues,"
More on 2016 Southern Africa Delegations
In the three Southern African countries we visited, we visited with our counterparts from today’s progressive movements in Africa ranging from #Feesmustfall and #ZumaMustFall to community, labor, and church bodies. We met young and emerging leaders, such as Danilo da Silva and Carina Capitine with Lambda in Maputo, journalists such as Khadija Patel at the Daily Vox Johannesburg (subsequently chosen to be the new editor of the renowned Mail and Guardian). and leaders of the student #FeesMustFall campaign in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. We also met with seasoned leaders from Southern Africa’s former liberation struggles such as Terezinha da Silva, Murphy Morobe, Albie Sachs, Ronnie Kasrils, Roshan Dadoo, Stephanie Kemp, Bonita Bennett, Mandy Sanger, and Keoraptse Kgositsile.
You can hear some of my reflections on Southern Africa today in an interview with me in September by Walter Turner, of KPFA's Africa Today (https://kpfa.org/player/?audio=246681). And for a video of a report-back gathering in Chicago, including a jazz performance and a roundtable with several of the Chicago trip participants, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukCAhSA7xmU
We walked picket lines and went to spoken word, music, and art presentations. We shared intense and insightful discussions of our current realities in the United States and in Southern Africa. For four weeks we lived the interconnections and bonds between our globally linked issues and struggles.
One participant from the Unfinished Agendas group said she had noticed that “everyone on the trip grew in their thinking and commitment.” Another said the trip “uplifted everyone’s voice and story--no one was any longer too small.”
And no one in the lawyers group will forget singing with the women in Kyalisha and the poignant, choked-up moment when the Rev. Michael Weeder, Dean of Cape Town’s St. George’s Cathedral finished his analysis of South Africa today with a tear-filled rendition of his famed poetry. Such a silence seized the entire group of lawyers and law professors!
P.S. Please note. This address is used for updates related to the Making the Road trips. For personal messages to Prexy, please continue to use his personal email: firstname.lastname@example.org