Thursday – September 22, 2022 – 6:30pm
Feel to Real is a kick off event for the coming year of events, readings, and projects that will be at the center of the Virginia Solidarity Economy Network. The goal of this event is to create a space both for people that are new to these ideas and those already doing work to come together.
In the summer of 2020, with the Covid 19 pandemic raging across the US and the ongoing racial justice work spurred by the death of George Floyd and the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, a group of community organizers came together from across Virginia. We did this in solidarity as we could feel the depth of the problems that each of our communities faced. Problems that we knew were not just going to go away with the removal of a few statues or organizing another march. While we recognized the importance of the fight to demand justice, we also needed to build new ways to feed, celebrate, house, and build our communities in ways that present systems would not allow. This required a new consciousness about our own power but also taking time to learn about the long history of Black and Indigenous organizing in VA. Together we needed to make REAL the alternatives that would move us beyond these continual struggles, to envision and live a new future. In this “post” pandemic moment, where crises continue to impact our communities, can we come together to build the connections and imagine opportunities that will move us all forward?
VASEN turned to the values of the Global Solidarity Economy movement (democracy, equity, sustainability, solidarity, and pluralism) to help us take initial steps forward. This gave us framework to think about how these values are realized in Virginia. We also took the time see what others are doing across the state. When we did that, we saw an immense amount of important work taking place. Though, we wondered how all these efforts could be in conversation with each other? If that was possible, then what could we do to strengthen each other?
In 2022, VASEN is renewing our commitment to each other and realizing solidarity across movements dedicated to a world that centers people and the planet over profits. While recognizing everyone’s autonomy, we want to imagine this world together. ln doing so, we want to take all the raw emotion that has driven us forward in the last few years and use it to magnify and inspire the important work taking place in all of our communities.
Over the next year, VASEN wants to find moments to be in conversation. We will be hosting monthly learn-ins that bring together the wealth of knowledge being created around the VA and in the South. We also want to find opportunities to share a bit more about solidarity economies and find collective vision. In the future, we are dreaming about the first VA Social Forum which will continue to strengthen our work.
Join us. Listen in. Speak up. Get involved. Be active. The invitation is open and the only way we can make this happen is by doing it together.
“If you have come 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.” – Lilla Watson
Resources and References
Beautiful Solutions – https://solutions.thischangeseverything.org/
Elandria Williams – We Are Worthy – https://youtu.be/Qrqq2cfc7to