Your center in action: A new year, new member, and a higher level of struggle

When we launched the new Indianapolis Liberation Center just over four months ago, we tested our foundational belief that consistency, cooperation, and community would do more for any single struggle alone and for the people’s movement overall. We had no existing fundraising efforts or donors, and the few member-groups we had couldn’t even cover half of the rent.

We decided to test our belief, sacrifice, and take the risk because we believe there is nothing more powerful than when the working and oppressed unite. We had no idea, however, that it would do so in such a short time span and in such an immense manner. Thanks to the community’s support and the discipline and sacrifice of our volunteers and supporters, we are almost there.

Since our grand opening on October 5, 2023, we’ve collectively evaluated our activity on a monthly basis, in addition to assessing the past year. With an expanding base in the community, increasing number of volunteer organizers and leaders, and small but growing number of donors and sustainers, and our first new member-organization to join in 2024, January provides more concrete evidence demonstrating that together, we can envision, fight for, and win a better city and world.

No matter how small or insignificant you think your contribution of time, money, energy, and labor are, we can assure you they are invaluable. Whether you make a one-time donation, become a monthly sustainer, become a volunteer, contribute to the Indianapolis Liberator, or host an event with us, you’re helping us all reshape the city and world for the interests of people, not profits. Among other activities, between New Year’s Day and the end of January we:

  • Welcomed FOCUS Initiatives, LTD. as a member-organization
  • Hosted a celebration of Nichelle Hayes’ leadership with library workers and community members
  • Defended free-speech rights and campaigned against the pro-Israel HB1002.
  • Supported and participated in a forum on mutual aid hosted by Flanner Farms and Ujamaa Community Bookstore
  • Organized educational events, watch parties, and workshops getting volunteers and community members actively involved in the center
  • Promoted petitions and other tactics to support striking workers and others behind bars
  • Kept building Hope Packages with a mutual aid donation drive and assembly
  • Put on cultural events to both educate people and contribute to a culture that actively works towards liberation

Uniting struggles: Welcoming and organizing with FOCUS Initiatives, LTD!

The official inclusion of FOCUS Initiatives LTD. multiplied the warmth, community, and energy of everyone in and with the Liberation Center. FOCUS, which stands for Forever on Course United in Solidarity, is a project of our comrades in IDOC Watch that includes both an abolitionist prison reentry program and a project focused on families and those with loved ones held in captivity.

We kicked off with a solidarity message Shaka sent to the Liberation Center that empowered and energized our organizers and community. FOCUS organizers prompted us to put out a call for our people to sign the petition to grant Shaka Shakur clemency and to support the Red Onion prison hunger strike in Virginia, flooding the Virginia DOC with calls emails condemning their torturous use of solitary confinement.

We were honored to support a mother who works for FOCUS Families Initiatives in her struggle to lift the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) gate closure restriction that arbitrarily prevents her from communicating with her incarcerated son. United through the Center, this emergency action showed that those with incarcerated loved ones aren’t alone and powerless; they are surrounded by people in their exact situation who are willing to struggle collectively along their side.

We concluded the month with a special Liberation Center forum organized with FOCUS and Free Shaka Shakur, which we started organizing collectively on the first day of the year. Engaging in a discussion with the revolutionary organizer and theoretician who is currently a captive of the U.S. state, along with Akili Shakur of Saving Our Families and our member-organizations, helped bring us all closer together. Most importantly, it showed our collective commitment to stand together to free Shaka and all political prisoners in the U.S. and brought new fighters into the movement.

Demonstrating our vision for a better society is achievable

With its monthly donation drive on January 20, Hope Packages continues going strong in the new year with continued growth not only in terms of donations, but also in the dedication of its volunteers to building solidarity with our homeless or unhoused neighbors. Their events now include concrete discussions and action-plans for achieving their 10-Point Program, with the February event prioritizing the right to education for all.

Meanwhile, our members in PSL Indianapolis are working to demonstrate that an alternative to capitalism is not only possible but necessary. In January, they organized a week-long series of actions on the 51st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, starting an activist workshop where people learned about some of the behind the scenes work that goes into organizing a march by preparing for the March for Choice. The workshop was followed up by the March for Choice days later when, despite the 0 degree temperature, community members showed up to fight for reproductive justice and abortion rights as a counter to the so called “March for Life.” Days later, we hosted a Liberation Forum addressing the global struggle for reproductive freedom. On another note, they held a well-attended watch party for the 2024 PSL presidential campaign for 2024, with their candidates Claudia De la Cruz and Karina Garcia. (first photo: Brandy Cunningham)

A center for training new organizers and volunteers

When we talk about the support that community members show the Liberation Center, it is important to note that it is not just a one way street. A great example of this is the public workshop we held on January 9 where those interested in volunteering with the Liberation Center could learn what it takes to be a volunteer, practical skills volunteers learn with us, and how they could get involved in struggles that line up with their interests. 

Another example of how volunteering and supporting the Liberation Center are mutual endeavors is our new summer internship program which you can apply for right now. Given we partner with a wide range of member groups, organize educational, cultural, artistic events, and more, we are well connected in our community and can offer an equally wide variety of training opportunities for people from a variety of fields of study. 

Uplifting a culture of liberation and anti-imperialism

Liberation struggles are educational, political, and cultural. Our First Friday series, “Unleashing the creativity of the masses,” hosted by our member-organization Arte Mexicano en Indiana, is one tactic in our strategy of creating a culture of resistance in Indianapolis. “Artists against apartheid”, our January 5 First Friday event showcased the art of artists from an international collective who do not create art for art’s sake but instead use their voices and art to lay bare the injustices in society and amplify causes against apartheid such as the ongoing Palestinian resistance.

On January 11, ANSWER Indiana continued this commitment to culture that embodies the struggle against imperialism with their anti-imperialist art build, hosted with Good Job Signs. Here, community members came together to both learn about different anti-imperialist struggles that are linked to the current struggle in Palestine and generate art that encapsulates antiwar commitments.

Activating the incredible capacity of our people

Whether you are a volunteer, organizer, member-organization, or community member who participates in any action or event, we focus on training the next generation of engaged citizens and fighters. “Each one, teach one,” as the saying goes.

We are run completely by volunteer labor and are 100 percent funded by community members just like you. That means continuing our project and expanding our work activating the incredible but neglected capacities of every single oppressed, marginalized, exploited, and working person in our city, we need your continued support. If you want to contribute to the energy and dynamism of your liberated community center, please join our sustainer program or make a one-time donation to our annual fund!

With the continued support and dedication of our member-groups, volunteers, and community members we will work tirelessly to realize our vision for a city that works for the working and currently oppressed people!