2014 was a year of growth for Design Action Collective. We continued to develop our skills and services, we moved into a new space we constructed ourselves, and deepened our connections with other media makers and social justice organizations.
47 New Websites
We are proud to have collaborated with well over 40 organizations to design and build complex and beautiful websites to serve movement needs. We expanded our capacity to design responsive sites for mobile devices, improved our ability to scale sites to meet needs of high traffic sites, and developed new skills for developing interactive maps and content filtering systems.
This fall Design Action Collective designed and built FergusonOctober.com to serve as an online organizing hub for a weekend of resistanace demanding justice for Mike Brown, a Black youth who was shot and killed by a white police officer. The killing and subsequent lack of respect for Black life shown by the overwhelmingly white police department, sparked protests nationwide demanding the arrest of the officer.
Seeing the importance of this historic moment, Design Action Collective deployed our team and donated a website for the #FergusonOctober mass mobilization, where thousands of people traveled to Ferguson and St Louis for a series of marches, mass meetings, and more than a dozen civil disobedience actions. The website served as an organizing platform and clearing-house of information for the actions and received hundreds of thousands of visits over the course of the month.
Following the highly successful #FergusonOctober we worked with organizers on the ground to transition the website from FergusonOctober.com to FergusonAction.com in order for the site to become a hub for actions nationally focused around police violence and the growing #BlackLivesMatter movement.
Since October the website has served as a vital tool in coordinating this national struggle. Design Action Collective is proud to have been able to throw down in support of this amazing growing movement and donate our services to the cause.
A New Hand Crafted Office
Design Action Collective members spent nights and weekends laying floors and building walls creating our new office space.
We transformed an unfinished basement-like space into a bright, open office with meeting rooms and a giant white-board wall.
Because we did all the work ourselves, we were able to customize the space perfectly for our needs (including the occasional dance party).
Deepening Our Movement Connections
Our new office is not only a place where we design posters and build websites. We are making this space available for organizations to use for organizational retreats, strategic planning meetings, and mailing parties. In 2014, our meeting rooms were used by many organizations, including Justice Now, SFWAR, the Ruckus Society, LeftRoots, and many more. We also hosted workshops for local high school students about political poster design.
Out and About and in the Media
This year, you may have met some Design Action Collective members presenting at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit, the Money for Our Movements conference in Baltimore, or the U.S. Federation of Worker Coops Conference in Chicago. You also may have heard us on the Writing to Make a Difference webinar, seen us on Al Jazeera’s AJ+, or read our article in the Grassroots Fundraising Journal
Sabiha represents Design Action Collective on Al Jazeera
Donating Services to the Movement
This year we were able support a number of important movement initiatives — such as the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Our Power Campaign climate justice mobilizations in Richmond and New York, the Block the Boat actions for justice in Palestine, and the fight against water shutoffs in Detroit — through donating design work.
Design Action’s work was also featured in the show Rebel Legacy: Activist Art from South Asian California. The show connects the century-long history of South Asian American activism with contemporary social movements, linking local and global struggles for equity and social justice.
Worker Cooperatives on the Rise
We have been glad to see growing support for worker coops in Oakland in the face of the so called “sharing economy.” As a worker coop, we promote a solidarity economy.
Design Action Collective member Sabiha Basrai was interviewed for an article in Oakland Local on worker coops.
In November, as people came to Oakland for the Nonprofit Developers Summit, members from tech and media worker-owned cooperatives from around the country — including Electric Embers, Radical Designs, Open Flows, Palante, Glocal, and Mirabot — gathered at the Design Action Collective office for a day of discussion around strategies for democratic management and supporting progressive movements.
Tech Coop day at Design Action’s office
Design Action Collective also joined other small businesses in Oakland to endorse Measure FF which successfully raised the minimum wage in our city.
Design Action endorses Measure FF to raise the minimum wage.
It was a big year for A is for Activist
Collective member Innosanto Nagara’s children’s book is currently in its 8th printing, and still topping the children’s book best sellers list. A de Activista, the Spanish adaptation came out, written by the great Martha Gonzalez (from the grammy award winning band Quetzal). The book is now also in Swedish, under the title A som i Aktivist. Tom Morello, of Rage Against the Machine, was kind enough to record a reading of the book, and it’s awesome! And we’ll let you in on a secret: a follow-up book is coming next Fall!
We welcomed Kwesi Ferebee to Design Action this year. Kwesi studied fine art at Howard University in Washington, DC and graphic design at Savannah College of Art & Design in Atlanta, GA. While in Atlanta, he freelanced as a designer for different progressive and queer organizations. He is committed to the social justice movement and is passionate about Black Liberation, trans rights, as well as food and environmental justice. Kwesi is also a painter and mixed-media artist and uses his art to invite people into the practice of “loving blackness”.
We were sad to say goodbye to Daniel Owens as he headed to Pittsburgh this year, although Daniel remains working for Design Action Collective from afar. Ria has also moved from the print department into the web department to contribute her excellent web development skills.