The Freedom Fundraiser Collective
The Freedom Fundraiser Collective is a network of artists and activists that empowers creative voices to mobilize, organize, and fundraise for Black queer and trans liberation and all intersecting political projects. We serve as a space for young working artists, with an emphasis on Black artists, Indigenous artists, and artists of color, to highlight their work through virtual showcases in dedication to the Black Lives Matter Movement.
In an attempt to reconcile and remember the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, a few Harvard students had the idea of putting together a variety show as a way to raise a bit of money to be donated to bail funds and advocacy organizations. Although we were remote due to COVID-19, through a series of spontaneous zoom calls, constant emails, and frantic facebook invites, the students were able to put on a showcase with 20 performances and over 400 viewers, and within 24 hours of Freedom Fundraiser’s conception, we were able to raise over $12,500. Although we hadn't intended to make this a lasting movement, the success of the first Freedom Fundraiser show made us realize that art is a powerful way to contribute to Black Lives Matter movement.
To create any lasting impact on the structural framework of society, we know that the dissemination of political, philosophical, and racial theory is vital. As college students, we have been exposed to a variety of books, articles, and essays written by great thinkers on a wide variety of subjects on the topic of the Black experience, and it is our responsibility to share what we have learned with as many people as possible.
In a world ruled by social media and digital contact, we are uniquely positioned to form connections between individuals from all over the country. We are committed to taking this movement as far as it can go by working with other passionate student leaders who are motivated to make a difference. Long term, we hope to be an intercollegiate collective that mobilizes students, professors, alumni, and institutions to create an America that is truly equal for all.
First and foremost, we exist to serve the organizations that do the groundwork involved in the fight for social equality, the abolishment of the prison-industrial complex, and the policy reform movements that are the driving forces for a better future. 100% of the money donated to Freedom Fundraiser is given directly to a variety of Black-led social justice organizations as a way of supporting their mission to change the world for the better.
We intend for this to be an intensely creative platform for young and talented artists to express themselves and engage with current events through the use of art. As director Ava DuVernay says, “activism is an inherently creative endeavor.” By encouraging students to contribute to our shows, perform on our instagram, and support one another, we hope to inspire an entire generation of Americans who are empowered, and emboldened to continue to fight for peace and justice for years to come.
Allison Scharmann ’21
Bobby Malley ’20
Claire Yoo ’23
Carissa Zhang Chen ’21
Emma Lanford ’22
Emily Orr ’21
Mercedes Ferreira-Dias '23
Freddie Shanel ’21
Hannah Lemmons ’20
Jasi Lampkin ’20
Lucy Golub ’20
Rachel Kahn ’20
Sabrina Wu ’20-21