WHAT WE DO
Upon return from your Solidarity Collective delegation you will be more deeply informed, motivated, and inspired. There is no replacement for meeting directly with communities, witnessing both the political and environmental landscape in which they organize, and listening to their stories of resistance- ones you nor the people you report back to, are likely to forget. If you are ready to jump into activism and advocacy in your community, we’ll be there to support you.
Solidarity Collective designs our Popular Education and Advocacy Program to provide you with skills and on-the-ground experiences that you can leverage in your ongoing work for justice, dignity and collective well-being. Since 1983, we've connected more than 20,000 delegates with a grassroots analysis and with the urban and rural communities that lead struggles across the Americas!
The Solidarity Collective builds transnational grassroots solidarity to resist U.S. government and corporate policies that contribute to violence, poverty and oppression in the Americas.
Our delegations take U.S.-based activists through an immersive and collectively transformative process with our local partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. Our delegations use a popular education pedagogy and focus on the struggle and principled leadership of Indigenous, African-descendant and Campesino land defenders, community organizers, and peacebuilders.
Every delegation is a unique and unforgettable experience. Each delegation has an itinerary with scheduled activities, meetings, training, and visits that are specific to the thematic framing and the group's participants. All delegations center the work, testimonies, and requests from local grassroots organisations that are committed to justice.
We believe that every person deserves to live with dignity, freedom, and within an equitable society. Our delegates, as well as the members and supporters of the Solidarity Collective's growing community, are committed to realizing this vision.
We believe that social transformation is built from the ground up. The Solidarity Collective centers the narratives, histories, and lived experiences of those most-affected by U.S. intervention and corporate extractivism - both in Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as within the Diaspora.
We believe social change happens from within. Therefore, the Solidarity Collective practices shared power in decision-making, and values equally the labor and wisdoms of each person in our community - staff, volunteers, delegates, donors, and partners.
We believe that misconceptions made prevalent by mainstream discourse can be effectively confronted through experience. Solidarity Collective delegates bear witness and learn directly from those most affected and most expert. Delegates root their advocacy in the lived experience of communities and organizations working for peace, justice and cooperative economies.
We believe in relationships and nurture our long-standing ties with communities of peace-builders, resisters to oppression, and nonviolent activists.
We believe in collective liberation and the transformative power of nonviolent social change. The Solidarity Collective builds intersectional people’s power and challenges oppression, racism, militarization and war in all of its forms.
The WFP Solidarity Collective's formation was inspired by the analysis and vision of Berta Cáceres, including the need for movements to inherently reflect the intertwining struggles against unfettered capitalism, racism, and patriarchy. The collective brings together grassroots organizers across the hemisphere, stateside regions, international human rights accompaniers, and our advisors to campaign for peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas. We continue to host speaker tours and conferences, publish reports, participate in nonviolent direct actions, organize policy actions, provide human rights accompaniment, offer delegations to Colombia, Honduras, and Cuba, and build this amazing transnational movement.
We look forward to moving down this new path with you, growing as a collective and a movement rooted in Witness for Peace's powerful legacy and driven by the creative movements and emergent strategies of today.
We partner on groundbreaking delegations, including Black Indigenous and People of Color Delegations, African Heritage Delegations, Transnational Environmental Justice Delegations, Peacebuilding and Human Rights Delegations, and more.
The Solidarity Collective is not affiliated with any government, political party, or special interest group. We are funded primarily through individual grassroots donations.
In December 2018, the WFP National Office (which acts independently, with its own 501c3, separate from the various Regional 501c3s) laid off all national and international staff, and ceased funding to the international teams that had been present in Colombia, Cuba, Honduras, and Mexico for years, along with the national support staff.
But the Solidarity Collective is still on the ground carrying out the vital mission of Witness for Peace.
What happened next is hard to believe. In an inspiring show of resilience, commitment, and visioning, our national and international staff, supported by the Regional WFP 501c3s, kept our important work moving forward, guiding us through the storm, and reconfiguring ourselves into a new organization informed by grassroots horizontal and participatory governance in a momentous effort to build an organizational model that embodies our values and is able to support transnational movement building in a meaningful way.
Against the odds, we are still on the ground carrying out the vital mission of Witness for Peace, and we’re building up to be stronger than ever, rooted in horizontal leadership, through the Solidarity Collective.
People are the heartbeat of our organization. We believe that every individual has the potential and ability to transform themselves, their community, and the world
Every person we work with - staff, board, volunteers, delegates, partners, and donors - has something to learn and something to teach. We invite you to join us!
HOW WE ARE FUNDED
WHO WE WORK WITH
With The Solidarity Collective, the delegation itself is just the beginning of your journey.
We work with a variety of national, regional, and local organizations who are ready to support your efforts, educate your community, mobilize for justice, and help build the larger movement for Latin American solidarity. As a Solidarity Collective delegate, our networks are your networks!
We’re proud that many active members of social justice groups like Veterans for Peace, Sunrise Movement, Inter-Religious Task Force, the Movement for Black Lives, and the American Friends Service Committee, as well as many local churches, peace and justice groups, are Solidarity Collective delegates!
The Solidarity Collective is a people-powered project fiscally sponsored by Witness for Peace Midwest. Since 2019, we have been supported by thousands of individual funders. 100% of our support comes from individuals who donate at all levels. Our average annual contribution is $50.
Your donations subsidize the work of our teams on the ground. We also provide sliding scale prices and fundraising support to BIPOC and working-class delegates.
What is International Accompaniment?
Communities and human rights defenders under threat sometimes ask for international accompaniment so they're able to continue their work and so that their work gains visibility on an international level. The experiences of various organizations in Colombia demonstrate that international presence in a conflict region can diminish considerably the risks faced by civilians targeted by armed actors that consider them the collaborators of their adversaries.
As Liam Mahony and Luis Enrique Eguren explain in "Unarmed Bodyguards," accompaniment literally personifies the international concern for human rights. It is a convincing and visible reminder to those who use violence that their actions won’t go unnoticed. The premise of accompaniment is that there will be an international response to whatever violence is observed by our international teams. That request carries the implicit threat of diplomatic or economic pressure; a pressure that the perpetrators of violence want to avoid. Therefore, all of our efforts focus on the prevention of attacks on those we accompany.
Because of this, the armed actors and civilians in the conflict area should have explicit knowledge of the physical presence of the international accompaniers as well as the support network that backs them up. The work therefore is two pronged: the physical presence of the volunteers and the political/diplomatic work that raises the visibility of the accompaniment as well as of the accompanied person.
Protective accompaniment works on various levels.
How International Accompaniment Works
International protective accompaniment is a non violent strategy for protecting threatened individuals and communities in the midst of an armed conflict or political violence. It is based on the principles of non violence, non interference and impartiality
What are the qualifications for joining a trip to Latin America?Anyone with a commitment to, or willingness to learn about, social justice should apply for a delegation. We encourage participation of people from diverse backgrounds.
Is there a minimum age requirement?The minimum age for a delegation is 18, and some exceptions may apply. Most trips are inter-generational (age 18-80+). Reach out if you have any questions.
How many people will be on the trip?Typical trips range in size from 10 to 20 individuals, with 14 as the average number.
What are the accommodations like?Delegates will stay together in modest, but safe and clean guesthouses. This typically involves dormitory style rooms (2-6 people per room), and private baths for each room. When staying with a family, the homes are usually humble and rustic. Though conditions may be much different from those to which delegates are accustomed, delegates consistently rate home stays as one of the highlights of their trip.
What does my delegation fee cover and how much will it cost?Your delegation fee covers just about everything except airfare: food, lodging, translation, accompaniment, facilitation, reading and preparation materials, orientation and on-the-ground transportation (in Colombia, internal airfare is also covered in the price). The prices of delegations vary depending on length of stay and country you’re visiting. By checking the online delegation page you can find the price of the specific delegation that interests you. Also you can contact the delegation coordinator, this email address is given for each delegation on the delegation schedule page as well.
What happens if I am not be able to go on the delegation? Is my delegation fee refundable?If you cancel more than 30 days prior to departure, your delegation fee is usually fully refundable, less the $300 non-refundable deposit. If you cancel closer to the departure date than 30 days, you are subject to cancellation fees, which may result in a refund of less than 100%. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Are Sliding Scale prices and fundraising support available?Sliding scale prices are available for every delegation and are included in the delegation application. Extensive fundraising support is provided in terms of raising funds online and thinking about raising funds through your local community. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or the delegation coordinator for more information. Delegates seeking financial assistance have a very successful track record of raising the needed funds. Unfortunately at this time, we have little to no scholarships available.
Is there any training or orientation before or during the delegation?Preparation for the delegation is an important part of your experience. Before departing for your trip, you will receive reading materials that cover health precautions, items to pack, what to expect from your delegation, and a reading packet. An extensive orientation and training session takes place prior to travel and on the first day of your delegation. This includes cultural awareness, health and safety guidelines, a non-violence workshop, and an introduction to consensus based decision-making. You will also become familiar with international development policies as well as the historic and current political reality of the country you’re visiting.
I would like to coordinate a delegation for a group of people. Can you customize a delegation for my group?We can custom design delegations for organizations, universities, and religious groups. If you are interested, and can recruit a group of 10 or more, contact us.
Can I get academic credit for my delegation experience?Some colleges offer credit for participation in a WFP delegation. Inquire with your school or contact email@example.com
What type of skills will I learn on a trip with the WFP Solidarity Collective?On your delegation, you will gain invaluable experience that will serve you personally, academically, and professionally for years to come. By going on a delegation, you will learn about grassroots organizing, policy advocacy, international peacemaking, conflict mediation and group process, cross-cultural sensitivity, diplomacy and much more.
Who sets up the trip and accompanies the group?All delegations are set up and facilitated by International Program Directors, who are based in our program sites for 2-4 years. These coordinators accompany the groups, providing translation and facilitation; Program Directors are extremely experienced leading delegations and can serve as a valuable resource in answering questions regarding U.S. foreign policy in the country you are visiting.
Is it dangerous to travel to Latin America?The safety of our delegates is of the utmost concern to the Collective. We have been hosting delegations to Latin America since 1983 and have extensive networks in the countries in which we operate. This experience has allowed us to responsibly and safely coordinate delegations. Before beginning any delegation, participants receive an extensive security and health briefing, and go over common sense precautions. By following such measures, delegations are generally very safe. In Colombia and Honduras, the level of political violence requires a much more extensive training and these delegations are not for everyone. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.