At the table Building Solidarity Nov 29, 2021

Solidarity is unity built through the adoption of a common cause or a shared interest. To be in solidarity creates a united front for people moving together to the same end. At QC Family Tree, we work to be in solidarity with the poor, acting against racism and oppressive economic conditions in order to reflect the kin-dom of God in the world.

The shared meal is a powerful image of the possibility of solidarity. A good time around the table has the potential to remind us of our common bonds - stomachs that growl and traditions for feeding them. But nothing magical happens around a table. In fact, the proximity of a table sometimes just reproduces injustice, rather than negating it. Solidarity is not built by pretending that we are all the same, but by the conscious work of understanding our differences. If the nourishment of a shared meal does not propel us to deepen our justice work, then we’re not building solidarity, just playing pretend.

For those with some level of privilege, solidarity is costly. But it is also life. It requires the denial of self and the reordering of narrow individual interests in order to achieve the good of a collective. It requires sacrificing power and prestige and position and authority in order to adopt the cause of the oppressed for justice in the world. Common cause with neighbors only happens when those with privilege are ready to lay their privilege down, and to use it in costly ways in concert with the poor and oppressed.

Food helps that hard work along, of course. Food is culture, and the exchange of hospitality and the sharing of culture can open people to insight none of us might otherwise receive. Everybody’s gotta eat. If we can use our tables to organize solidarity for those who are hungry, and to drive a hunger for justice for those with excess, well, that sounds delicious.

- Greg Jarrell