Addressing Intersectionality through Catalyst Conversations

Leigh Cameron

One of the reasons that I love my job is that I get to work with such a broad range of community groups across a variety of sustainability issue areas. My brain has a hard time thinking about one issue in isolation without seeing connections to another area, so at the Grassroots Fund, I get to satisfy my need to think in systems and to recognize patterns. One minute I might be speaking with the member of a repair cafe, the next I’ll be connecting with a food justice activist, and the next with an energy cooperative. I love the new ideas and insights I get from hearing from these diverse and innovative efforts, while also seeing how they are related.


I believe that looking from this perspective across different movements helps us to raise deeper questions about our collective work. For example, can the strategies within local food organizing translate to energy organizing? Why do conversations around equity seem to be further along in some issue areas versus others? Why are certain demographics more represented in one issue versus another? Is it possible that a solution to one community challenge could be unknowingly creating problems in another? Could the solutions we seek be even simpler if we thought about these issues together?


It is these conversations and questions that help us glean broader trends about grassroots organizing and that form the basis of our Trend Reports, which aim to share back what we are hearing from local groups to inform our participatory grantmaking process.


We at the Grassroots Fund have the opportunity to sit at the intersections of these issues every day and to dig into these cross-issue conversations. That’s why I am so excited about our new Catalyst Conversation Series, which now gives organizers the opportunity to do so as well. Catalyst Conversations are interactive events for community members and groups to strengthen cross issue-area collaboration and to create space for new and creative ideas to emerge. And while we know that folks often leave events inspired and full of energy, we also know that the energy can fade without the resources to put those ideas into action. With Catalyst Conversation we want groups to leave with the tools and funding to make their ideas a reality and to explore and experiment with new ways of organizing.


So we hope you can join us on September 5th at the Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner, NH and September 6th at the Coventry Community Resource & Senior Center in Coventry, RI for our 2018 Catalyst Conversations to share your voice in this collective conversation! We can’t wait to see what ideas emerge!


For questions and comments on the Catalyst Conversation series, contact Leigh Cameron, author of this blog, at [email protected].