Dear Catalyst Community,
These days, do you find yourself wanting to do more, to throw yourself more fully into the fight for justice?
We do, and we found a way to increase our impact for collective liberation: grow our staff!
We’re thrilled to have Elisabeth Long and Lee Gargagliano (bios below!) joining Dylan Cooke and Rahula Janowski as full-time Catalyst collective members.
Along with our volunteer collective members Clare Bayard, Donna Willmott, Rochelle Watson, Will Dominie, and me, we’re the largest Catalyst Project we’ve ever been.
And, for the first time in our organizational history, the majority of our collective comes from poor and working class backgrounds, bringing us into better alignment with our politics around the crucial role white working class leadership plays in anti-racist movements.
Our community called us to get bigger and bolder to meet the moment. So far in 2019 we’ve: Run two Anne Braden Training Programs that trained 60 anti-racist organizers from across the US and CanadaSupported direct actions for immigrant justice and to close the concentration campsHosted public events with movement leaders speaking on: Visionary Organizing Strategies; Black Liberation Organizing; and Indigenous Sovereignty OrganizingPrepared to launch our first Braden Program in Ohio (starting this fall)Raised over $100,000 for people of color-led organizing projectsStarted a 6-month training with a national network of environmental organizations to center environmental justiceAnd more!Stay tuned for updates on our next moves, and thank you for being part of the Catalyst Project community!
Elisabeth Long joins Catalyst Project after participating in the Philadelphia Anne Braden Programin 2016, Braden Leadership Team in 2018, and joining the facilitation team in 2019. She grew up in Kansas and Missouri on Kaw, Shawnee, Osage and Illini territories. Politicized by her experiences as a rape survivor struggling for justice and healing, Elisabeth was pulled into feminist anti-violence organizing. Her politics were developed by Women of Color feminisms that articulated a vision for the world she wanted to live in and the strategy to get there – a world where accountability, care, and pleasure thrive, free from sexual and gender violence and therefore free from prisons, policing, and all forms of domination. She has spent the last decade in anti-racist movements for prison abolition, anti-carceral feminism, LGBTQ anti-violence, and health justice with groups such as the Colorado Anti-Violence Program, Elephant Circle, the Trauma Center Coalition, and Prison Health News. Most recently, she organized in Philadelphia with the Coalition to Abolish Death by Incarceration and the No215Jail Coalition to end life without parole sentencing, jail expansion, and money bail. She values the opportunity to use her trauma-informed practice, harm reductionist approach, and transformative justice orientation to support the resilience of movements for collective liberation. Elisabeth is the daughter of a single mother, an incarcerated father, and the power and generosity of queer and feminist networks of care. She loves reading, musicals, hot springs, feral cats and collective study.
Lee Gargagliano moved to the paid staff of Catalyst after being an unpaid collective member for the last year. Lee joined Catalyst Project after serving on the Anne Braden Program Leadership Team in spring of 2018. Much of Lee’s political work has been focused in the struggle for justice for Palestinians. As an organizer with the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Networkbased in Chicago and the Bay Area, Lee contributed to campaigns working to expose the settler-colonial nature of Zionism and its ties with US imperialism, as well as its cooptation of Jewish histories of oppression and resistance. He came to the struggle against Zionism after growing up in a radical, secular, Ashkenazi, Yiddishkite community that taught him to draw on those Jewish legacies that stand against oppression and with collective liberation.
Additionally, Lee is an adult educator working with high school equivalency and English language students, helping them to realize their educational goals and recognize their own capabilities. He loves to learn from, be inspired by, and support growth for people who have been pushed to the margins and want to improve their lives through education and self-knowledge.
Lee is a pizzabagel from Brooklyn who has strong opinions about both pizza and bagels. His politics were shaped by his parents who were politically active with People Against White Supremacy (PAWS) in the 1980s, and his mom was a part of Womansong, a feminist chorus. Lee is an avid soccer player and member/player of Left Wing FC.
Read about our other collective members on our About Us page