El Rio Benefit

Freedom On My MindWe Must Know Our History:

Catalyst Benefit Brings Out a Community of Support

“We do this work for the liberation of our families, our communities from this divide and rule strategy of white supremacy.  We do anti-racist work in white communities to build movements that can win, multiracial movements working for collective liberation,” spoke Ingrid Chapman and Clare Bayard about the work of the Catalyst Project.
On May 22nd over 80 people come together at El Rio, a community bar in the Mission District, for the Heads Up Collective monthly film series.  Heads Up Collective, a sister organization of the Catalyst Project, has been using the film series over the past 3 years to help build a community of people committed to anti-imperialist politics, raise money for grassroots organizations and show radical documentaries on historical and current struggles for justice.  In May, Heads Up worked with the Catalyst Project to show “Freedom on My Mind” about the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. 
Catalyst put together a program that featured Sharon Martinas, Clare Bayard, Ingrid Chapman and Nisha Anand.  Sharon spoke on the historical legacy of the 1st Reconstruction after the Civil War, the 2nd Reconstruction of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and the 3rd Reconstruction today in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.  She talked about the historical development of white anti-racist organizing and the lineage leading up to the Catalyst Project.  Ingrid and Clare gave an overview of Catalyst’s work, which many attending the event had participated in.  Nisha spoke of the need for this community to support the work of Catalyst, as a primarily volunteer based staff who won’t be funded by foundations or the state to build left anti-imperialist politics and practice in white communities.  People raised over $2700 to help fund the 15 week training program Catalyst is working to develop and launch in the spring of 2008. 

Many commented on how powerful the film “Freedom on My Mind” was and the need to learn lessons from past movements for our work today.  There was a strong sense of community as people came from around the Bay Area and beyond to support and build anti-racist work with the goal of building effective multiracial movements for collective liberation.