Knowing where you came from is important, as an individual activist, as a member of an organization, and as an organization in a larger movement. This type of historical knowledge can help in acknowledging your own activism’s weaknesses, its strengths, and in avoiding burnout. You are not alone. Your work builds upon the work of others. Know that you are likely not the first person to tackle an issue, and will not be the last. Someone has always come before you, whether in fighting the direct issue you are combating, or in frameworks mobilized against another issue that you are adopting in your own fight. Keeping predecessors in mind can help give you strength, examples of what to do and what not to do, and a groundwork, so that you are not also starting from the ground floor, but from a higher story of a structure built by those who came before you. Remembering historical roots is especially important in light of normative (white-supremacist, patriarchal) history, which seeks to ignore and erasure the work, achievements, and existence of under-represented groups.
In putting together this project, our group was working from a feminist framework within a Women and Gender Studies class at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Our department has a strong international focus and tends to be partnered with Ethnic Studies and LGBTQ Studies. Among the class putting this together, students were seniors and juniors in Women and Gender Studies, with some students also double majoring in fields such as Ethnic Studies, History, English, and Film. All of these lenses determined what type of project we would do, and how we went about doing it. In creating this toolkit, we pulled prior information that many of us had from prior classes or activist work, conducted interviews and discussion with existing campus resources, such as Community Health, or found new sites of information and groups to reach out to, such as the University of Kansas’ Community Toolbox