Photos: Signs of solidarity

Z Muhammad, of Brattleboro, attends the ninth week of Solidarity Friday that was held at Pliny Park, in Brattleboro, in August 2020.

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BRATTLEBORO — You may have seen the Solidarity Friday demonstrations on the Pliny Park corner that began last summer and continued into the fall. In-person actions were paused due to COVID restrictions but we continued meeting (via zoom), learning about our shared concerns and building our coalition. In the ongoing work to gain more participation in and deepen the understanding of our actions, the involved organizations wanted to explain our purpose for Solidarity Fridays in preparation for starting again on May 7.

Four Brattleboro-based organizations — Brattleboro Solidarity, The Root Social Justice Center, Lost River Racial Justice, and The Tenants Union of Brattleboro — came together last summer during the Black Lives Matter uprisings. Later, we were joined by 350 Brattleboro, the VT Debt Collective, Youth 4 Change, and Out in the Open (supporting remotely). Together, we recognized that, while we were witnessing the streets come alive across the country against police brutality, the streets must stay alive in order to enact the level of broad changes across struggles that are urgently needed — for humans, animals, and the planet.

The coalition acts with these shared principles:

• Everyone should have what they need.

• People’s lives over profit.

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• All of our struggles are tied together.

We believe that the basic necessities for a healthy life are non-negotiables. There is no excuse for hunger, homelessness, or death from curable diseases anywhere in the world. All of our struggles are tied together. We believe that the struggle for Black liberation and against police brutality and racism is also a struggle against the exploitation of poor working people. We see how those with power benefit from the divisions that they sow amongst us. We acknowledge and address our diverse struggles while we assert that we have more commonalities than differences. We are stronger together.

We are on the street on Fridays because we believe that being united in our struggles is important in paving a new path forward. We choose not to fight against or react to those who disagree with us, but rather invite them to talk with us so that we may find our common interests and beliefs. Being on the streets together raises our spirits, breaks isolation, and helps build a network of people who want to do this work together. We invite you to join us weekly on Fridays to make connections — both with other people and between struggles! — and to take a stand for a more just world.

Bring a sign or make one with us at the park. We will be back at Pliny Park on Friday, May 7 at 5 p.m.