The Solidarity Library
The COVID-19 pandemic has had unimaginable consequences to lives across the globe. And while it will take years to fully understand the scope of the damage this pandemic has done to people and society, for Mayumi and Trevor, both studying at Cambridge, the effects on libraries could not be ignored. They saw this moment as an opportunity to rethink what a library can offer to its community. They envisioned a “multimedia website project that will be participatory and collaborative in nature”, which will help combat the limited representation and diversity many libraries struggle with.
Together, Mayumi and Trevor created The Solidarity Library as a digital library that compiles resources from people working directly in the fields of “social justice, racism, disability rights, LGBTQ+ communities, climate justice” and more. The project is creating an extensive catalogue of perspectives that have often been overlooked and left out of the more traditional library institutions. It’s also providing a space for young people to come together digitally and have ongoing conversations that address issues they’re experiencing.
Mayumi and Trevor have worked to grow this digital space, and to provide a “safe digital convening space where marginalized people can present their own stories and experiences through storytelling and research in a conference” with the end goal of shifting the overall narrative of these young people. And through the support of Peace First and the mini-grant funding, they have been able to host a few different virtual conferences.
So far, between these virtual conferences, social media and their website, The Solidarity Library has impacted over 200 people. And through surveys, Mayumi and Trevor were able to discern what attendees learned, such as a deeper understanding of the intersections of social justice work. Attendees were able to identify how “ageism, classism, racism, and incarceration can affect identities differently across the globe.”
Additionally, the virtual conferences helped make “the community feel more emboldened to take action through further research and activism.” While their conferences supported by Peace First have been completed, Mayumi and Trevor’s work on The Solidarity Library is not complete. They’re looking to continue to expand what the platform can offer, including more diverse media content, such as a mini documentary series, as well as to expand the diversity of contributors to ensure this Library is truly a rethinking of what can be.