Anti-Racist Organizing Discussion Group

Catalyst Project ran a year long discussion group with a core group of 10 activists who had all gone through a six week Anti-Racism for Global Justice workshop series led by Sharon Martinas and Chris Crass.

The Anti-Racist Organizing Discussion Group was a leadership development program to support activists applying the lessons from the workshop to their activism and lives.  

The group met every other week for a year.  Catalyst Project supported people to take leadership over the group by holding a planning meeting to prepare for each group meeting.  People volunteered to shape the next meetings agenda and Catalyst members led the planning meetings with the goal of helping everyone involved develop the following skills:

  1. making an assessment of where a group is at and what it needs
  2. planning political education according to that assessment
  3. designing curriculum
  4. facilitation
  5. evaluation  

The discussion group itself included:

  • Reading and discussing essays
  • All of the white people writing and sharing responses to questions put forward by one of the participants of color about "why are you (as a white person) doing anti-racist work" and "how is it in your self-interest"
  • People presenting on their work in different organizations and getting feedback on overall strategy and help on particular challenges
  • Discussion of long-term visions that guide people's work and support reflecting on the work people are doing
  • Opportunities to reflect on work people are doing in their organizations (this included multiracial and mostly white activist groups that were both volunteer based and non-profit staff based)
  • Exploring ways to bring in analysis of patriarchy, heterosexism and capitalism to anti-racist politics.
  • Role-playing meetings (of organizations people are in and coalition meetings people have been to) and using a technique of sharing both what you would say in the situation, but then what you are actually thinking and feeling in the situation, both often going unsaid in political spaces and having a huge impact on those spaces.
  • How white supremacy and race operates in South America based on a participants experience of growing up white in South America and experiencing what it means to be of color in the U.S.
  • Sharing food and building relationships between the people involved.

The people involved are currently engaged as teachers in high school and Universities, parents raising the next generation, members of groups like Left Turn, Heads Up Collective, Jews for a Free Palestine, the Childcare Collective, the Industrial Workers of the World and several become members of the Catalyst Project.