by Nicole Newman, Contributing Writer
“The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”
When I came across this chant, made popular through many protest movements, I was intrigued. It is a variation of a song by Sergio Ortega. Ortega was a Chilean composer and pianist. His work through movement building and protesting was very well known within the leftist community in Chile. While it seems unrelated to our work in local communities, there is a sentiment expressed that we can learn from. As young professionals who care about creating change, we must wrestle with what that looks like in our everyday lives. Our work volunteering, advocating, donating money or providing other services to various organizations and causes is rooted in a belief. That belief is that the world, our county and our communities can be places of promise and opportunities for all. We engage these spaces, because we have hope.
Through this chant I was reminded of three things:
1. The possibility and limitlessness implied in the words
United we cannot be defeated. We must realize that united people can accomplish anything. When we talk about philanthropy or social justice we must understand that we have within us, the power to envision and create a different society. Equality for all people is not a lofty goal we aspire to, we create tangible solutions to problems and embody possibilities.
2. The need for community
Community is what grounds and connects us. It is also the place where we see possibility and are called to our higher selves. At our core we wish to belong. Community is the place where we find hope in the future and make sense of our past. It is also the place we are formed politically. Our communities are where we make sense of the world, both the beauty and injustice it. If we allow those experiences to transform and shape us, community can be a place where we become whole. We understand our experiences through the lens of relationships. Those relationships have power.
3. The sacrifice of self for something bigger
This is the same idea behind colloquiums like; alone you go fast, together you go far. We must be willing to give up our own sense of self for the well-being of others. No, we don’t have to deprive ourselves but we must wrestle with what we are willing to give up as individuals are so that group goals are accomplished. We must also come to terms with how relative our sense of right is. Our lens of what justice is and what people need is reflective of our own experiences. To accomplish great things we must be willing to sacrifice our own goals for the collective end.
The people united will not be defeated! Today, with all of the social ills we have, we must remember together we accomplish more. We cannot be overcome by the bad we see, we must move into the future with a renewed sense of possibilities for what the future could look like. Our future depends on how we live into this statement.
The people united will not be defeated!!!