Springing into a summer of struggle: Center propels to new heights

As summer hit, our community took advantage of the longer days to build our collective knowledge, power, and strength. The spirit of change, joy, and sunshine infused the Indianapolis Liberation Center, propelling our independent community organizing space to new heights.

For an example of what the Center makes possible, consider what we executed in just under 72 hours. On June 21, we hosted an artist community workshop with Gloria Martinez Granados that created work currently on display at the Herron School of Art + Design. The next day, a packed crowd filled the Center for a report-back on the People’s Conference for Palestine with ANSWER Indiana, the Palestinian Youth Movement, and MESA IUI. An hour later, we started the closing reception for Jacob Church’s May Fourth Friday exhibit. Then, on June 23, PSL Indianapolis organized a “Banish the Bans” rally on the 2nd anniversary of the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade.

During the frenzy of activity, we still maintained our regular open hours, updated our website and social media, continued the routine work of running the Center, evaluated our past activities while organizing for future ones, and affiliated with a dynamic and important statewide organization. This new level of activity is driven by our community of volunteers, member-organizations, donors, and sustainers.

From Indy to the DRC: Uniting against racism, capitalism, and imperialism

After the Center edited and published Shaka Shakur’s second booklet, From the Republic of New Afrika to Palestine, the author and Center organizers spoke at its nationwide launch event graciously hosted by Dream Palace Books & Coffee.

At the launch, we welcomed IDOC Watch as our latest member organization. IDOC Watch, one of the longest-standing radical organizations in the state, builds solidarity with prisoners. They are dedicated to building a mass-based struggle to abolish the prison-industrial complex across the state. IDOC Watch advances this mission through their many projects, like the Pendleton2 Defense Committee.

One of the main theses of Shaka’s new book is that domestic and global national oppression are part of the same overarching struggle, and we put this thesis into action as we struggled for Black freedom while advancing the historic Indianapolis movement for a Free Palestine. The month started off rainy but strong with a rally to free Palestine and, days later, we organized transportation for dozens of community members to make the 10 hour trip to D.C. to surround the White House for Gaza.

We connected these struggles with the current conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We hosted a special event with representatives from Indy for Congo and Patchwork Indy and released a short video lesson by Vernon T. Bateman on the revolutionary history of the real Tarzan–an African anti-colonial fighter from the Congo.

The short video is part of our ongoing campaign to exonerate Vernon T. Bateman, and came a week after Vernon and a Center organizer were featured on the Underdawg Talk podcast.

Incubating the community food coalition and growing in community

Our June Hope Package assembly was another success, and the program included a speaker from the new Community Food Access Coalition (CFAC), a project that quickly emerged from the collaboration our Center enables. After four years of inaction, the community organized CFAC in a matter of weeks. CFAC—which held its first several meetings at the Center and created its bylaws, charter, organizational structure, and more—held a well-attended community potluck recently, affirming its grassroots character.

As we held our monthly Liberation Forum, ANSWER Indiana meeting, and our current Fourth Friday exhibit, ”Do you feel what I feel?” by Dai Eades and India Hines, we used the extra sunshine to table at Indy Pride and at Healer’s Brunchfest 2.0. Tabling is part of something we do every single day: outreach. We pound the pavement, pass out flyers, and build with the people across our city.

The remarkable pace and, most importantly, quality and diversity, of June were enabled by our expanding base of volunteer organizers and the financial sacrifices our class makes by donating and sustaining the Center. We invite all community members to take advantage of our extended hours this summer and reach out to host an event at the Center!

Let’s make this summer shine brighter for Indianapolis!

Featured photo: From Eades and Hines’ Fourth Friday opening of “Do you feel what I feel?” Credit: Indianpolis Liberation Center.