2019 Solidarity Hub
The 2019 ACT Ubumbano Solidarity Hub took place on 21-23 May in Johannesburg. 67 participants from community organisations, NGOs, FBOs and churches used the SEE JUDGE ACT method of social analysis to explore the theme “Environmental Justice – a Question of Survival”.
The Hub began with a sharing of experiences of environmental injustices in different communities. For many it was the first time having a deep reflection about what climate change and environmental degradation means for them and their communities. This laid the basis for a discussion on the systemic drivers of injustice, of an economic system that only thrives on more and more consumption at the expense of our natural ecosystems. This challenged participants to explore how their own practices either challenge or maintain these destructive social, political and economic structures, and through some difficult conversations to look deeply at what needs to change in their own work.
Feedback from participants confirmed that the Solidarity Hub and the approach of using critical review of practice methodologies is an important new feature in the social justice landscape. This is evidenced in the evaluation comments that said that “the process forces us to think critically and deeper”, and that we must “continue to provide the ‘liberated’ space for organising and reflecting”. The Hub takes a deliberate approach of “focusing a solid amount of time on reflection rather than just talking about what we do.”
ACT Ubumbano consciously creates space for voices not usually heard. In the 2019 Solidarity Hub, 52% of participants were women. 17% were under 30 years of age, while a further 23% were in their forties. The effect of this was a conversation that was lively and challenging, and that will shape the action plans of ACT Ubumbano into the future.