The Symposium on Strength and Solidarity for Human Rights is a multi-year project to provoke new efforts and energy across the field of human rights to build organizational strength and increase mutual solidarity.
As states retreat from their responsibilities to protect rights, the need for cross-cultural, intergenerational, multi-identity, and all-class participation in defense of human rights has become critical.
We need shared language and common frameworks in order to be more effective allies. We need open conversations about power and deference to those on the frontlines to renew our struggles and fortify relationships. We need robust connections among our organizations to maintain and increase mutual support.
To that end, the Symposium on Strength and Solidarity for Human Rights seeks to be a source of ideas and energy within the global human rights movement. From now until 2025, we’re convening frontline activists, organizational leaders, scholars, and movement builders in complex conversations. And we’re drawing on those conversations to produce a wide range of written and digital materials exploring ideas about building respectful organizational culture, structuring governance and funding, deploying the language of rights, and establishing a rigorous practice of solidarity.
Institutional health and mutual solidarity are critical to the success of human rights work. In order to achieve this, we:
BUILD SPACES OF TRUST that allow leading members of human rights organizations and movements to make an honest appraisal of the human rights sector, and their role within it
MODERATE COMPLEX CONVERSATIONS so that participants of all origins can speak and collaborate with safety and ease
CONNECT SYMPOSIUM PARTICIPANTS with opportunities to strengthen their relationships and interrogate questions about the health and resilience of both movements and organizations
FOCUS ON SOLIDARITY AND DEFERENCE as powerful tools in multi-generational, multi-cultural and multi-class struggles for human rights
FOSTER CONDITIONS TO NURTURE OPTIMISM AND CREATIVITY because hope and invention are fundamental to every struggle
Our approach to building strength and solidarity within the human rights field is defined by the following principles:
demonstrating self-awareness and humility about all that we do not yet know, and following the lead of those on the front lines of struggle
cultivating opportunities for shared discovery, co-creation and iterative design throughout all aspects of our work
being willing to question past assumptions, lean into uncomfortable debates and consider alternative approaches to established ideas