What I Learned About White Anti-Racist Study and Struggle

This summer, sixtcatalyst study and struggle group photo 2een Catalyst Project volunteers came together in a six-session “Study and Struggle” group about Black liberation to deepen our understandings of the historical context for the current Movement for Black Lives. 

Read on to learn what we studied! You can access our curriculum here

We wanted to learn about the movements, leaders, and forms of resistance that came before it, and the ways that Black people have been fighting for their survival against white supremacist systems for centuries. Our first session was a week after the Charleston Massacre and all of us felt the urgency of the fight against white supremacy as we listened to Mumia Abu-Jamal’s radio piece on that horrific event: “White supremacy is the mother’s milk of Charleston, of South Carolina, of the South, of America.” One member of the group remarked that indeed, as white folks, we inherit white supremacy and the revision of history that goes along with it. Learning the true history of white supremacy and Black resistance is a fundamental part of our commitment to collective liberation.

Journaling was an important component to our sessions; it helped us avoid the pitfall of disembodied discussions and encouraged folks to make the connections between the readings and our practice as anti-racist activists.  People journaled about how their families have benefited from white privilege, how they incorporated anti-racism into their everyday lives, and how they will take action after the reading group ends. Some of us participated in the Stop Urban Shield protest in Oakland as a way to integrate our study with action.

This group was part of Catalyst’s “Study and Struggle” program, which includes public events as well as study groups available to anyone who volunteers with us to get access to study, analysis and skill- building. These spaces for political education and movement strategizing help participants develop fresh, vibrant and relevant analysis for today’s complex social, political and economic landscape.

There is a resurgence nationally of people coming together in community study groups on Black Liberation, revolutionary feminism, 21st century socialism and more. We strongly encourage folks to go out and create a study group with your community using the many available resources, including the curriculum we have created, available here, toolkits from SURJ, and this BLM curriculum created by teachers at SFUSD.

We hope these takeaways will guide you as you set your own goals, create your own intentions, and continue the tradition of studying and struggling, as so many before us have done.

With love,

Donna Willmott,
on behalf of Catalyst Project