Collection conceived and written by datejie cheko green, designed by LOKI Design, translated by many comrades (see below) •
I wrote the solidarity conscious manifesto in my first language, English.
Note that I don’t describe English as my mother tongue.
As a person of Jamaican and English/Scottish descent, slavery and settler/colonization stripped me of all direct ties to my African linguistic origins. Black, Jamaican, adopted Cameroonian, student and scholar of Africa, ally, warrior and comrade – these are the heritages with which I have come to identify the most, hold the strongest affinity, and for whom the dominant societies in which I live and work most label, stereotype, appropriate and police my body, movements, activities and ideas.
This linguistic gap, and its associated cultural and historical losses, has been a significant part of my experience of rootlessness, unbelonging and devaluation over my lifetime. It was only in adulthood that I had the opportunity to learn, explore and begin to understand my roots, hear the delight, playfulness, eloquence and versatility of language, and develop a deep and loving appreciation for how people live and feel the fullest from within their own tongue – from English and French and all their creoles, and so much more.
I’ve always been inspired by the linguistic ties and reclamations of those in my life and in my midst. Through this project, I want to give a nod to their progressive place in our lives and humanities as we seek and build solidarity for global social justice.
This solidarity conscious manifesto is my effort to find the most liberated and straightforward language to convey the sentiment of my concept/practice/vision.
By liberated I mean not colonial, not nationalist, not bound in laws, borders or punishment, not effacing of indigenous origins, inherited, adopted, chosen or invented everyday words, ideas and meanings.
I have sought out translators, most of whom are freelancers, to help me interpret this sentiment into their own vernacular.
My / our goal is to reach people where we experience this message the fullest and the best – in our home languages and cultural contexts.
In a large way, where the translators feel this manifesto, I could only wish that their translations might signal a “return,” a translation back into indigenous comprehension.
It is my sincere hope that the substance and spirit of this manifesto look familiar to people, especially those who have chosen to reside in modes of political, social, creative and spiritual consciousness. As its meaning, intent and words have come to me, I have all the more realized that I am not really the composer of its whole meaning.
The heart of this is ancient. And each time I witness and recall the bits and pieces of my own engagement with the indigenous peoples and worldviews I’ve had the privilege of encountering throughout my life and travels, I am affirmed in this understanding.
I also hope that the liberated sentiments of this manifesto find comprehension in the lingua franca languages that have been colonized into us – as my gesture of welcome and attempt to reach folks where they feel most culturally and historically rooted, as conflicted as that can be.
If I had a hundred lives, I would willingly and lovingly learn every language I could, starting with the language of life, the earth, the elements, the emotions, creatures, music … and solidarity.
I believe that being solidarity conscious is what we all strive to contribute, and what we all long for as feminists, organizers, artists, thinkers and activists working across borders and beyond nations, globally.
Thanks, best wishes and solidarity to the generous translators that supported this project.
Arabic – Hazar Al Kheder
Armenian – anonymous
Chinese – Gloria Guanhua Zhu
Cree – Greg Spence
Farsi – Niloofar Golkar
French – Dorothee Njuidje Kom
Greek – All Languages (AL) freelance translator
Haitian – AL freelance translator
Hindi – AL freelance translator
Italian – AL freelance translator
Korean – AL freelance translator
Ojibway – Vicky Anges
Portuguese – AL freelance translator
Russian – AL freelance translator
Spanish – AL freelance translator
Swahili – Patricia Koine
Tagalog – – AL freelance translator
Urdu – AL freelance translator
Vietnamese – AL freelance translator
I continue to seek and welcome people open and able to translate this solidarity conscious manifesto into any languages not yet included here.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.