Sit-in for solidarity

Solidarity is often desired, but is rarely expressed in a meaningful way. How do we show solidarity without harming any group or putting one struggle over the other? We don’t know the answer, but regardless, we are trying: United for Better Dining Services (UBDS) decided to do a day long, public sit-in in solidarity with the dining halls workers who support us everyday.

United for a Better Dining Services is a coalition of students and faculty that, starting in 2014, advocates for better rights for our dining hall staff. Through various outlets, we are hoping to build community between the student body and dining hall staff, to engage the student body in prominent issues concerning the minimum wage and pay gap, and to ask President David A. Greene for a timeline to hold him accountable for ensuring that every member of our community is cared for and given the opportunity to live a comfortable lifestyle.

There are many ways to make change, neither of them better than the other. Throughout last year, we spoke to the Administration, reached out to the Colby community, and organized events. Looking at where we are at now, having talked to many people, making sure that we are respectful to all the parties, and recognizing that we have some more to go before achieving our goals, we had to choose our next step.

So, we have also decided to sit in. But this is not just because we want to be activists, We have put a lot of thought into why and how we are doing conducting our event.

First of all, we have chosen not to block anybody’s way too much because we need to be cautious about the representation of our campaign. We are not sitting in for ourselves nor for people far away from our communities who could be directly affected by our actions. We want to recognize that we are a student solidarity movement, and part of solidarity is being humble and making sure that we do not step over the lines before it is necessary.

We are also sitting in a heart that will be made of candles, as our campaign is based on love and has been born from empathy. Because we have decided to spend weeks working towards making sure that all of the members in our community can make it through the end of the month. This is not to glorify us. We, as everybody else, will also benefit from the improved worker’s conditions.

We decided to sit in for the whole day. From 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Thursday, November 5, somebody from UBDS will be sitting in the heart in solidarity with the workers. By being there for the 18 hours during which Pulver is open, we want to show our commitment to this issue while recognizing that it is fairly easy to take eighteen hours of our lives as students and spend them sitting in solidarity, though that might not be available to everybody in the Colby community.

Lastly, the heart is open for everyone. While there are a few students that meet regularly, there are many more people who feel the same way and who can join us for as long or little as they can and desire to. The heart is big enough to take us all in, to be in solidarity with the workers, but also with each other, because what would Colby be without a community in which people care for each other?

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