RESIST + RECLAIM

On May 7, 2017, Solidarity Economy St. Louis co-hosted a People's Assembly with the Pine Lawn Coalition and the Highlander Center to address issues of vacant land, displacement, and gentrification.

Founded in 1932, The Highlander Center serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the South. The goal of Highlander was and is to provide education and support to poor and working people fighting economic injustice, poverty, prejudice, and environmental destruction.

Co-facilitators Elandra Williams and Susan Williams led us in asking ourselves questions about our experiences in St. Louis, the oldest aspects of history in the region, where displacement and gentrification occur, who holds institutional and people power, and what we need to know to get where we need to go for a thriving city. We shared stories about the illustrious native civilization in Cahokia which was wiped out by the Spanish, Mill Creek Valley and Hop Alley communities, the Ville, Superfund sites, tax-increment financing and redlining, cultural segregation, the racist creation of Kirkwood, Brentwood, Busch Stadium, downtown, and more. By mapping where we come from, where we live, and where we work, we started to examine how we fit in these dynamics of displacement and gentrification, and where our gaps of knowledge lie. As we filled ourselves with knowledge, Somethin' Like Jamaica filled our bellies.

We closed our time together with a rousing song about... solidarity, of course!

Julia Ho
TESA Collab for Solidarity Economy Game

We teamed up with the Toolbox for Education and Social Action (TESA) to create our own custom version of the Loud and Proud game!

From TESA's article about the collaboration:

"Loud & Proud is TESA’s fast-paced social justice word association game. With quick-to-learn rules, the game is often used as an icebreaker by organizers and activists, and as a way to inspire conversations about important political concepts (like “civil rights” and “renewable energy”) in a lighthearted way. Learn more about Loud & Proud here.

Solidarity Economy St. Louis approached us to create a custom version of Loud & Proud for their zine Kapital, a practical guide to studying capitalism and communal wealth in the US. While the zine was chock full of rich, compelling content, it was dense, and needed some work to become an interactive and relatable tool. The group hoped to use the game as a regular introductory activity to help make participants comfortable and give a sense of how people were already thinking about and experiencing concepts in the zine (like scarcity, abundance, competition, and cooperation).

We created custom cards for Solidarity Economy St. Louis, drawing concepts from the zine and making it more culturally appropriate by incorporating more African-American cooperative history.

Solidarity Economy St. Louis premiered the game at Resist + Renew, a dynamic event that brought together games, live music, and good food to facilitate discussions about justice, sustainability, and self-determination."

And TESA did an amazing job! Those who played the game did so with surprise and laughter, with people saying, "When I get a chance, I'm going to buy it!"

Julia Ho
Non-Binary Clothing Swap

Members Salena Burch and Kat Owen put their gender-busting and fashion skills to work by organizing a Non-Binary Clothing Swap at Yeyo Arts on Sunday, April 9th 2-5pm. People donated an abundance of clothes, got their first binders and gaffs, jammed outside, and get some new style and new smiles. Overheard afterward: "Many people got new clothes for the first time in a while, after not being able to afford it." "That's wassup." #solidarityeconomy #solidaritylookslike

Our lookbook inspired by donations was really fun, too!

Julia Ho