By Lola Bean


root - Posted on 11 December 2007

PNN Journalist/Graduate of POOR's Race, Poverty and Media Justice Institute

by Staff Writer

There are a lot of people here at the US Social Forum claiming solidarity, claiming alliance, claiming other people’s struggles for their own personal gains. At POOR, we are poor. We’ve fought through fire, illness, disease. Gunshots, poverty – you name it – to get here. To get to the US Social Forum. To this place that’s supposed to be filled wall to wall with people in “solidarity” with folks like us. And how were we treated by our privileged brothers and sisters? We were separated from the forum and relegated to a bathroom where it was impossible to share our skolarship. We were treated like an annoyance when we asked for an acceptable space. We were told we were fire hazards when we tried to actually work with what we were given. Our signs were torn off the wall because “tape is not allowed” when other organizations were allowed to keep THEIR signs on the walls.

The folks at the social forum, people claiming to be at the forefront of social change treated us no different than the folks they claim to be fighting against. We are put in basements everyday so we are not seen, not heard, not felt. Access is granted only to those with the pass of a certain color, respect is given only to those with resources and connections. If we can’t be treated like human beings at the US Social Forum, what hope do we have that these people are even capable of creating social change? What’s worse, if these people and organizations are working against us, what does that say about out chances – poor, abused, people with disabilities, people of color – what does that say about our chances of finding TRUE solidarity?

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