The labour movement relies on solidarity to be successful. As the old saying goes, “United we stand; divided we fall.”
But like so many things in life, it’s easier said than done. Particularly in very democratic unions like OPSEU, where a free expression is encouraged. It can sometimes be a challenge to get a consensus, but it can be done.
That need for solidarity is every bit as important at the global level. But the sheer number of competing interests and diversity of opinion often put up barriers to the collective actions required to effect real, positive and enduring change.
That’s why the UN established International Human Solidarity Day in 2005, which is observed every December 20. The global community, and particularly the wealthiest nations on the planet, need an annual reminder that the spirit of sharing at the heart of authentic solidarity is the only way forward to eradicate poverty and meet a number of other challenges that threaten humanity.
This may seem like a tough goal to achieve. What can each of us do to solve such overwhelming problems? Alone, perhaps not a lot. But in solidarity with others, much, much more.
OPSEU has always strongly promoted solidarity, whether it be among our diverse membership, within the labour movement, among the people of Ontario, and with people across Canada and around the world. That’s because OPSEU is a social justice union – and social justice knows no borders.
And that’s why OPSEU set up two dedicated funds, which have been contributing to a better, more just and more inclusive world for many years. The Live and Let Live Fund supports organizations that combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Southern Africa and Ontario. OPSEU’s Executive Board makes an annual donation, while a silent auction at Convention also raises funds – some $17,000 in 2018.
OPSEU’s Social Justice Fund contributes to projects in communities in Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and Asia that support better education, improved access to excellent health care, and clean water, while fighting poverty and strengthening civil society.
These are fine examples of solidarity in action on a global scale, which we celebrate every December 20.
During the holiday season, when we feel a special sense of solidarity with, and responsibility for, those most vulnerable and in need of help, consider making a donation to the charity or charities that matter to you – and again experience the positive feeling that solidarity creates.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas
Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida