The past week moved fast. I’ve split my time between San Sebastián and Bilbao, getting a whirlwind introduction to cooperation in the Basque Country. My time in both cities coincided with their Aste Nagusia or Semana Grande, the largest celebration of the year. My mind has been in two places, trying to engage in meetings with cooperators and enjoying fiestas while also processing the chaos and tragedy happening back home in the U.S. It is difficult to understand my place in the Charlottesville attacks as both an American dedicated to racial and economic justice and a Watson Fellow dedicated to ‘acting in place’ rather than being technologically-tethered to far-away friends and family.
But we are all connected. The joy and resilience of the Basque people, an indigenous group that faced violent persecution by Dictator Franco during the Spanish Civil War, has helped me understand Charlottesville. The Basque have a culturally ingrained propensity for cooperation, and their organizations remind me why cooperatives are my tool of choice for collective liberation.
Last week, I read an article by Dominique Pearson, a CoFED Racial Justice Fellow, about experiencing the Charlottesville attacks and police response firsthand. Their authenticity, strength, and clarity of vision moved me and helped me understand my place in this tragedy. You can read Dominque’s thoughts here. Thank you for reminding me to continue this work so “we can all get free.”