2013 Session 15: Strategic Anti-Racist Organizing – Readings

2013 Anne Braden Anti-Racist Training Program
Session 15: Strategic Anti-Racist Organizing

Required Readings

  1. Enid Lee, “Looking through an Anti-Racist Lens” from Beyond Heroes and Holidays. (4 page PDF*: Lee_Looking_Through_an_Anti-Racist_Lens). (bio).
  2. Anne Braden, “Black Power and White Organizing”. (4 page PDF: Braden_Black_Power_White_Organizing). (bio).
  3. Ai-jen Poo, “Lessons from the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights Campaign in New York”. (6 page PDF: Ai_Jen_Poo_Organizing_with_Love; also at www.leftturn.org/Organizing-with-Love). (bio).
  4. Rural Organizing Project, “‘A Struggle for Our Lives’: Anti-Racist Organizing in White Rural and Working-Class Communities: An Interview with the Rural Organizing Project in Oregon” from  Chris Crass ed., Towards Collective Liberation: Anti-Racist Organizing, Feminist Praxis, and Movement Building Strategy. (18 page PDF: Rural_Organizing_Project_Struggle_for_our_Lives). (bio).
  5. Catalyst Project, [Strategy Tools] “Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats”. (1 page PDF: Catalyst_SWOT_Template).
  6. SmartMeme, [Strategy Tools] “The Battle of the Story Worksheet”. (1 page PDF: SmartMeme_Battle_of_the_Story_Worksheet). (bio).
  7. AGENDA, [Strategy Tools] “The Strategic Puzzle in Moving Towards Long-Term Goals”. (1 page PDF: Strategic_Puzzle_Catalyst). (bio).
  8. Ingrid Chapman, “Hearts on Fire: The Struggle for Justice in New Orleans”  (Catalyst pamphlet). (23 page PDF: Chapman_Hearts_on_Fire). (bio).

Recommended Readings

  1. Sendolo Diaminah, “Igniting the Kindred”. (2 page PDF*: Igniting_the_Kindred_Diaminah). (bio).
  2. Manju Rajendran and Alba Onofrio, “What We Know for Sure: 15 Years of LGBTQ Living, Loving & Organizing in the South”. (5 page PDF: What_We_Know_Rajendran). (Rajendran bio; Onofrio bio).
  3. Sami Al-Arian, “We Shall Rise”, Left Turn, May/June 2005. (1 page PDF: Al_Arian_We_Shall_Rise). (bio).
  4. Adam Hanieh, Hazem Jamjoum and Rafeef Ziadah, “Challenging the New Apartheid”,  Left Turn, May/June 2005. (6 page PDF: Hanieh_Challenging_the_New_Apartheid_Reflections_on_Palestine_Solidarity). (Hanieh bio; Jamjoum bio; Ziadah bio).
  5. Los Angeles AWARE, “One Step Forward on the Path to Liberation: White Anti-Racist Organizing and Its Role in the Struggle Against the White Supremacist System”. (12 page PDF: AWARE-LA One Step Forward). (bio).
  6. Maria Poblet and Luis Herrera, “Deporten a la migra,” Left Turn. (2 page PDF: Poblet-Herrera-Deporten-a-la-Migra). (Poblet bio; Herrera bio).

Readings are provided free for use by participants studying in the Anne Braden Training Program for Anti-Racist Organizers, a noncommercial, nonprofit educational program. We encourage everyone to buy the works from which excerpts have been taken – please support these authors and publishers.

Author Biographies

Action for Grassroots Empowerment and Neighborhood Development Alternatives (AGENDA) was established following the 1992 civil unrest in Los Angeles to address chronic poverty in South Los Angeles. AGENDA is a membership-based organization that seeks to reverse the trend of declining civic participation and disinvestment in this community. Since 1993, AGENDA has waged campaigns to make police reform, public safety, job creation, and quality health care in South Los Angeles top priorities for elected officials and decision makers.  AGENDA believes that the future of Los Angeles should be determined by all of its residents and that the working poor and people of color should be at the forefront of the struggle to win systemic change.  See www.scopela.org for more information.

Dr. Sami Al-Arian is a Palestinian political prisoner in the U.S.   Since 1995, Al-Arian has been the target of an orchestrated campaign to silence him for his views in support of Palestinian human rights.  After nine years of a highly public investigation, the government has yet to provide evidence to support its claims against Al-Arian and his co-defendants.  Since his arrest on February 20, 2003, he has been kept in isolation in a federal prison in Florida while his case has been held up as an example of the “success” of the PATRIOT Act.  He has been demonized in the U.S. media and used for political gain by both candidates in the 2004 Florida U.S. Senate race. Dr. Al-Arian helped establish the Islamic Committee for Palestine (ICP), a group that raised awareness about the plight of Palestinians.  He organized voter registration drives, supported candidates for public office, and lobbied numerous policymakers.  In 1997, he co-founded the Tampa Bay Coalition for Justice and Peace, a local coalition opposed to the unconstitutional use of secret evidence and other civil rights violations, as well as ongoing media attacks against Arabs and Muslims.  For more information, see www.freesamialarian.com.

Anne McCarty Braden (1924 – 2006) was an American advocate of racial equality. Born in Louisville, Kentucky, and raised in rigidly segregated Anniston, Alabama, Braden grew up in a white middle-class family that accepted Southern racial mores wholeheartedly. A devout Episcopalian, Braden was bothered by racial segregation, but never questioned it until her college years at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Virginia. After working on newspapers in Anniston and Birmingham, Alabama, she returned to Kentucky as a young adult to write for the Louisville Times. There, she met and in 1948 married fellow newspaperman Carl Braden, a left-wing trade unionist. She became an early supporter of the civil rights movement. She and Carl Braden co-founded the Kentucky Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

Ingrid Chapman is a community organizer, educator, and carpenter who worked with Catalyst Project for 8 years. Her roots within radical left organizing began as a member of the global justice movement in the late ’90s. She was a student organizer and member of the Direct Action Network that mobilized thousand of people to shut down the WTO in Seattle. She has led trainings on direct action skills with the Ruckus Society and played a role in their anti-racist transformation process. As an organizer with Catalyst she has worked to support the struggles for the right of return and equitable rebuilding with several grass roots community organizations based in New Orleans. She also worked with Critical Resistance for 6 years with Oakland residents in struggles for community safety and alternatives to incarceration and policing.

Sendolo Diaminah (aka Don Dolo) is a Queer/Black/Radical, cimarron, and working-class intellectual living and organizing in Durham, North Carolina. His politics have their origins in the cultural work for Black liberation that was the life blood of his childhood community in Kalamazoo, MI and in his love for other men of color, but have been broadened by his Third World/POC Marxian mentors, sharpened by his work as a student/popular education organizer of the Free Akademy at the City University of New York, nurtured by his queer communities in Brooklyn and the Triangle, and deepened by his own studies and life experiences. Radical spirituality, Fred Hampton’s dimples, intersectional politics, brushing off haters, land/agrarian struggles, and a well-chosen outfit are all essential elements of his politics and well-being. Sendolo frequently escapes his plantation gig(s) to do work as a member of Left Turn magazine’s North Carolina collective and as intern for SONG.

Amy Dudley started down the path to social justice organizing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia where she lived until 1998. Amy began her organizing with fellow students and young women on issues of gender oppression. After two years working with a community based natural resource management project in Central Africa, Amy shifted her focus to inclusive democratic participation through neighborhood organizing where she thought she could make the most difference in our global struggle for justice and liberation. In her four years as a neighborhood organizer, Amy initiated and supported ally efforts, relationship building, and education for racial and economic justice between white, middle class neighborhood activists and the homeless community, immigrant groups, and communities of color. Amy is thrilled to be working with the Rural Organizing Project, which she sees as a move back towards her rural roots.

Adam Hanieh is a member of the Al-Awda Right of Return Group (Toronto), the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid and the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario.

Heads Up Collective was a white anti-racist, anti-imperialist project rooted in the global justice and anti-war movements. They developed through the mass actions that rocked the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and through opposition to the right-wing military advances of the U.S. government launched at home and abroad after the devastating attacks on Sept. 11th, 2001. The Heads Up Collective worked from the foundation that all people have the right to housing, food, health-care, meaningful work and healthy communities. They believed in the need for revolutionary change and the liberation of all people from the systems of white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, heterosexism, the gender binary system and imperialism. In the summer of 2009, the Heads up Collective dissolved, with a farewell letter and summary at mediadissent.com/blog/?p=448.

Luis Herrera organized for several years with St. Peter’s Housing Committee in the Mission District, which was a founding organization of the Deporten a la Migra immigrant rights coalition.

Hazem Jamjoum is a member of Al-Awda Toronto, The Palestine Right of Return Group, Sumoud political prisoners solidarity group, and the Arab Students’ Collective at the University of Toronto.

Enid Lee began her career as a classroom teacher 35 years ago. Today she is an accomplished “front line teacher,” teacher educator, researcher, writer, consultant, facilitator and speaker. She has taught in the Caribbean, Canada and the USA and has been involved in the professional development of teachers for two decades. She consults internationally on anti-racist, inclusionary and equitable education. She has pioneered the equity-centered initiative, Putting Race On The Table, which is designed to help teachers and administrators create equity-centered classrooms. She facilitates an international network of schools enabling educators to share strategies for addressing questions of language, race, culture and class in education and for ensuring that teaching and learning are characterized by academic rigor and readiness for social justice action. Lee is the author of over 30 publications. They include Letters to Marcia: A Teacher’s Guide to Anti-Racist Education, the docudramas “Quick to Judge” and “Food for Thought” from the television series “Many Voices,” and Beyond Heroes and Holidays: A Practical Guides to K-12 Anti-Racist, Multicultural Education and Staff Development.

Alba Onofrio is a Queer Radical Southern Missionary and a member of Southerners on New Ground.

María Poblet is a queer Latina organizer and poet. She has studied poetry under the direction of June Jordan and Martín Espada. She served as Artistic Director of June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and taught poetry workshops at Mission Cultural Center, FCI Dublin Women’s Prison, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Her work has been featured in the SF Weekly, Revolutionary Voices, and the Street Sheet. She has been a community organizer in San Francisco’s mission district since 1999 working with St. Peter’s Housing Committee, fighting for immigrant Latino tenants’ rights. In 2010, St. Peter’s merged with sister organization Just Cause Oakland to form Causa Justa :: Just Cause, which works to build Black and Brown working class unity and power through economic justices struggles.  She agrees with Cape Verdean revolutionary Amilcar Cabral that culture is a weapon in the fight for freedom. She can often be found reading poetry through a bullhorn.

Ai-jen Poo helped found Domestic Workers United, an organization promoting justice for the more than 200,000 women involved in domestic work in the greater New York area.  She helped lead the campaign in New York State for the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights. In 2007 at the US Social Forum—and the first national meeting of domestic workers’ rights organizations—Ai-jen became a co-founder of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, which now includes more than 20 organizations in 10 states across the country with over 10,000 members. Ai-jen began organizing at CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, where she worked with Asian immigrant populations in low-wage service industries.  She organized a citywide campaign called “Dignity for Domestic Workers.” From 1997 to 2000 she was a women workers project director, first conducting outreach and offering English classes to Asian women in the sex industry and later organizing Asian domestic workers.  She has been a member of the board of Social Justice Leadership since 2008.

Manju Rajendran is a Desi based in Durham, North Carolina. Her mama is Christian, her papa is Hindu, and she’s just saucy. She is a proud member of UBUNTU, SONG, Future5000.com and the Not Your Soldier advisory board.  She organized in Chicago with Females United For Action, ” a coalition of young women leaders that is dedicated to educate not only ourselves, but others as well, on issues that affect women and girls. We organize to bring attention to the issues and take action to address them.”

SmartMeme builds movements and amplifies the impact of grassroots organizing with new strategy and training resources, values based communications, collaborations, and meme campaigning. SmartMeme uses the power of narrative to advance a holistic vision of grassroots social change that connects struggles for democracy, peace, justice, and ecological sanity. They are a national collective with roots in the Mission District.

The Alliance of White Anti-Racists Everywhere – Los Angeles (AWARE-LA) is an alliance of white anti-racist people working together to combat racism within ourselves, local communities, and the world.  They collectively develop anti-racist practice and tools for nurturing anti-racist practice among white people and working in transformative alliance with people of color. They take collective action to build white anti-racist and multiracial alliances to challenge the white supremacist system.

Rafeef Ziadah is a third generation Palestinian refugee, a member of the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (www.caiaweb.org) and Sumoud (sumoud.tao.ca), and she is a political science student in Toronto.

* Note: number of pages refers to pages within the PDF file to provide a sense of the download size, not the number of pages of readings included. Links to external web sites open in a new page.

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