A Love Letter
We want to thank all of you for sustaining the work of INCITE! through your organizing, vision and support. Under the guise of national security, our communities, bodies and lives are increasingly threatened with escalating state violence and surveillance that targets, blames and shames women, girls, trans and gender non-conforming people of color. With an increase of global natural disasters and the rise of economic crisis (while our social systems are being gutted), it is critical for us to lift up our analyses, voices and strategies that seek to transform conditions, confront systemic oppression and ensure our collective safety and survival. In celebration of over a decade of INCITE! and in light of a new decade having begun, we want to honor your work and vision. Together we are shaping a new collective vision for our movements and communities!
INCITE! Chapters and Affiliates have been busy raising our resilient voices for the safety and lives of our communities! The INCITE! LA Chapter organized youth leadership programs, film nights, campaigns against the racist legislation of Arizona SB 1070 and more. Two INCITE! Affiliates, Young Women United (YWU) and Mamas of Color Rising, continue to build together for access to healthcare and birthing options throughout Texas and New Mexico, traveling to meet and share strategy and community around their shared work and offer free Certified Birth Companion (Doula) trainings to women of color. Women’s Health & Justice Initiative of New Orleans released a critical statement, ‘Stereotypes, Myths, & Criminalizing Policies: Regulating the Lives of Poor Women’ and continue to organize for the health and safety of women and trans people of color in New Orleans and the global south. INCITE! Affiliate Young Women’s Empowerment Project released a truthtelling participatory action report, “Girls do what they have to do to survive: Methods used by girls in the sex trade and street economy to fight back and heal” and launched the “Street Youth Rise Up” campaign in Chicago, along with a recent march and speak-out. The INCITE! Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Chapter organized self defense community classes, and the INCITE! Denver Chapter continues to organize around community accountability and collective well-being, holding a day of workshops on wellness & resiliency as part of their chapter work and publishing a powerful statement on hate crime laws and violence against queer and trans people of color.
For the last 5 years, the INCITE! network has hosted a track at the Allied Media Conference (AMC), bringing INCITE! members, analysis and organizing models to this national movement-building space, and developing new media-based organizing practices with our allies there.
There is so much more to share, and so much more on the way. We hope you’ll share your stories and local work with the wider network through our blog and newsletter!
THE INCITE! NATIONAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITIES
Some people have asked, “Who and what is the INCITE! National Collective?” To put it simply, we are a small collective of volunteers that does infrastructural maintenance to support the INCITE! National Network. This includes tending to email accounts and list-servs, managing finances, producing newsletters, websites, and merchandise, and tracking book orders and sales. We often connect and coordinate with INCITE! Chapters and Affiliates, make some decisions about national gatherings and collaborations, and occasionally work on analysis and written statements about issues and events.
Through a long-term listening process that involved surveys, in-person meet-ups and one-on-one interviews, we developed a “Working Group” structure to support collaboration across the chapters, affiliates and individual members in the INCITE! Network. A Working Group may be infrastructural or issue-based. Members can start issue-based Working Groups that reflect leadership from across the network; they do not need to be hosted by the National Collective but should commit to sharing info with the network through the website and blog. Any that are infrastructural should be hosted by the National Collective. Currently there are two of these infrastructural Working Groups in the network:
- The Media and Communications Working Group is comprised of National Collective members, affiliates, chapters, and allies. This working group is building a new website and other media tools to share and give visibility to the amazing practices, strategies and resources of our network. Members are working to decentralize and help the INCITE network become more transparent and horizontal in its communication practices. We believe it is necessary for members of our network to build and maintain our own online communications infrastructure. Part of this includes building a radical tech support community, teaching and learning digital skills, and creating an online space for the network to connect, all through a collaborative, cross-geographical process. The Media Working Group has met twice for in-person skillshares and plans to organize more.
- The Grassroots Fundraising Working Group is building grassroots fundraising strategies to raise funds towards more potential gatherings of membership to cross-share skills, ideas and leadership, and to help provide material support for local Chapter and Affiliate work. We see the action of raising monies and sharing resources — from our political strategies to opening our homes to each other — as a political practice that transforms how we support each other, leverage resources and build our sustainability for the long term. Through grassroots fundraising, we seek to build our collective capacity, wealth of knowledge and resources for, by and with each other.
In addition, throughout the next year you can expect these things from the National Collective: more brilliance and collaboration on the blog; a new interactive website; an INCITE! Membership Guide; a new INCITE! Values Statement; a Resource & Resiliency Toolkit including fundraising ideas and tools; and a Structure Handbook to help explain how INCITE! as a network is organized. We will also be reaching out to you to build more collaborative leadership & skills-sharing within the INCITE! network and are in the last stages of producing an INCITE! chapter & affiliate toolkit, which is a compilation of all the most useful tools for starting and sustaining INCITE! organizing from across our network.
Thank you for being INCITE! and for trusting us and yourselves with this work. This is a love letter of liberation to all of you. As the National Collective, we are here to support you, the Chapters, Affiliates, and other allies who are the heart of what INCITE! does. We want to lift you up and give you deepest gratitude and appreciation for the vital work you are doing for our collective survival.
In Vision & Legacy,
Jenny, Cara, Emi, Karla, and Kiri