Our sweet collective is growing! We are bringing in two long-time organizers with deep roots in indigenous sovereignty and international solidarity. After having had the privilege of working with Annie and Ysh on past Braden Leadership Teams, we are eager for them to bring their decades of experience to Catalyst.
Ysh Schwartz (they/them) grew up on Uypi and Aptos territory in what is now known as Santa Cruz, California. They are politically sculpted by their family’s poor, working class background and history of mental illness, as well as their lived experience as a fat and trans white person. Ysh joined movement work through the fossil fuel divestment movement, starting a divestment chapter at their school in 2014. For the past 7 years they have been primarily organizing in support of the Palestinian liberation movement as a member of Jewish Voice for Peace in the Bay Area, focusing on basebuilding, leadership development, and ritual creation. Ysh also deeply loves holding down logistical care work in movement spaces, such as food and security. As a participant in the 2019 Anne Braden program and member of the Braden Leadership Team in 2021, Ysh deepened their understanding of white Jews’ stake in dismantling white supremacy, as well as the importance of internationalism in every aspect of our movement work. They are brought into joy through communal cooking and food share, ritual as community co-regulation, and learning new TikTok dances.
Annie Banks (she/her/hers) grew up on lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ homelands in so-called Canada, and got involved in organizing in her teens, with groups like Food Not Bombs, No One Is Illegal, a local free school, and local Indigenous nations-led land defense campaigns. Annie’s perspective has been shaped by Environmental Justice, Anti-Racism and Indigenous Solidarity, as taught by Indigenous, Black and Brown women, trans people and Two-Spirit people. She also organized queer dance parties, was part of a bicycle burlesque troupe, worked with youth in a youth detention facility, was a human rights advocate and worked against sexualized and gender-based violence. In 2013, Annie travelled to Ohlone lands to attend the Anne Braden Program where she also danced at the Lusty Lady, worked with the California Coalition for Women Prisoners and Californians United for a Responsible Budget. She then spent time up north at Unist’ot’en Village over the following years. She participated on the Leadership team of the Braden Program again in 2015 and was a co-coordinator with the Bay Area Solidarity Action Team (BASAT), and was one of the J20 Resisters. She then joined the coordinating committee of the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) and is also currently a member of Save the West Berkeley Shellmound, a co-founder of the Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Front Bay Area and The Indigenous People’s Day 5 Solidarity Coalition and a grassroots fundraiser for several frontlines. Annie is also a political printmaker and lives in Oakland (Huichin) on the homelands of the Ohlone, with her partner, James, and their two small children, Audre and Justice. No Justice, No Peace!