Cultural Organizing

Highlander Cultural Organizer Je Naé Taylor is building on the collective work and impact of Highlander’s cultural work examining the Recipes for Culture” with the upcoming launch of a new toolkit in 2024 sharing lessons and strategies gathered over the last three years. Digital resources will be shared out monthly through Highlander’s social media and newsletter, but we will mail physical copies if you’d like to join our mailing list!

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Freedom Church of the Poor x Black August

Black August is a tradition that originated in California’s prisons in the 1970s after the deaths of Jonathan and George Jackson and other incarcerated Black people who’ve sought freedom. The month has since been used to lift up organizations and revolutionaries in battle with, incarcerated and/ or assassinated by the US State apparatus as well as to prepare developing leaders for future struggle.

This year, the Kairos Center, Donkeysaddle Projects, and the Highlander Center commemorated this month with Freedom Church sessions grounded in the experience of the Watts Uprising, the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign with Rev Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the National Welfare Rights Organization, Fred Hampton’s Rainbow Coalition, honoring Black veterans in the movement throughout history, the March on Washington, the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, and more.

In preparation for this series, we brought together artists and cultural organizers from our different networks to think collectively about the role of cultural organizing and art in these various movements and to collectively create works that  complemented the Freedom Church series throughout August and the first week of September.

The Recipe for Culture video highlights the amazing work supported by Cultural Organizer Je Naé in 2020, including biweekly virtual Spiritual Soirees and Happy Hours centering healing, collective joy and resilience during the pandemic; the Culture Cohort supporting five culture workers in the South, culminating in the 48-hour virtual Cultural Bazaar; Parties at the Polls to celebrate voter engagement and voting rights; and much more.