At the time of writing this, there are 52 days, 16 hours, and 40-something minutes until the 2020 US Presidential Election. Since its founding in 2016, For Freedoms – an art-activist collective founded by artists Hank Willis Thomas, Eric Gottesman, and Michelle Woo – has been running programming and activations that centre artists’ voices to “expand what participation in a democracy looks like, and reshape conversations about politics”. In short, one of its goals is to avoid the clusterfuck that was the 2016 election by arming people with the knowledge and power to exercise their right to vote.
For Freedoms’ latest project is a digital publication titled Infinite Playbook, which gives readers tips on how to make a difference in the current, socially-distanced climate. In the publication, For Freedoms writes: “We’ve synthesised what we have learned and what we want to manifest in this unprecedented year. These tools and resources are designed for people and institutions who want to participate in collective action at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Infinite Playbook outlines the collective’s short term – “increase voter engagement” – and long term goals – “build a political and cultural identity around listening, healing, and justice”. It also lists ways to participate – whether that’s to “post art far and wide” or “march for our freedoms”.
In February, For Freedoms launched a weekend of talks, programming, and activations in LA, called Wide Awakes – a name which pays homage to the historic Wide Awakes Grand Procession which took place on 3 October 1860.
Speaking to Dazed in March after the weekend, Willis Thomas said: “Part of the thesis of For Freedoms is that history isn’t made alone; it’s through our collective work, collaboration, mutual respect, and openness that we can make the impact on the world and society that we want.”
For Freedoms’ next event will occur on 3 October, and will be a nationwide series of events and programs to mark the 160th anniversary of the history Wide Awakes Grand Procession. Follow the Instagram for updates.