Raising Funds, Introducing RC, and Building Community

In Chicago (Illinois, USA) we hosted our second annual BLCD (Black Liberation and Community Development Workshop) Garage Sale Fundraiser.

Last year we raised over $550 and enjoyed ourselves so much that we decided to do it again. This year was even better! We collected twice as many items to sell and raised over $1,100. Much of the money came from people who wanted to make donations after hearing what we said about BLCD and RC’s goal to eliminate white racism. All the Co-Counselors from Chicago who wanted to go to BLCD were able to because of the money we raised.

We had at least four volunteers at the sale at all times. People signed up for two-hour shifts but many stayed longer. Co-Counselors spoke to immigrant “customers” in Tagalog and Spanish. Our Area Reference Person, Njoki Kamau, talked with four “shoppers” for thirty minutes and gave them a mini-introduction to RC. We added baked goods this year, a sweet way to attract more people and get conversations started. We had a lot of fun together! Co-Counselors danced in the street with garage-sale signs.

This year I was much more outgoing with my neighbors and friends and more comfortable explaining BLCD and talking about the goals of RC. I was surprised at how interested people were. One of my friends even worked a long shift at the sale.

At the end of the day a woman came and filled a truck with our unsold items to send them to Puerto Rico for hurricane relief.

People have been telling me they would like to participate in the sale again next year, and I’m looking forward to it already.

Cindy Dimmitt

Chicago, Illinois, USA


I came by close to the end of the sale and could tell [see] that a lot of work had gone into the project. Everyone seemed so upbeat—even in the heat wave. Thanks to everyone. There is no question that we have great allies.

Njoki Kamau

Evanston, Illinois, USA


African-heritage Co-Counselors (of which I am one) and our allies in the Chicago Area collected donations, sorted and priced the items, and made signs explaining the fundraising effort. At the sale Co-Counselors and their volunteering friends danced in the street, waved signs, hawked [called attention to] the great bargains, and talked about RC, Black Liberation and Community Development, and white people working to eliminate racism.

Yvor Stoakley

Wheaton, Illinois, USA


I was pleasantly surprised at the positive response when I told people we were raising money for Black Liberation and Community Development. It was all really pleasant. I remembered that people care more than we might give them credit for.

Jane Kim

Glenview, Illinois, USA


Wow! It was so cool [excellent] and amazing what we did. I enjoyed telling people that this was not your usual yard sale, that we were helping people who were African heritage attend a workshop on healing the effects of racism. Everyone was curious and pleased. I kept the tone friendly and light and planted a little seed for another time.

Barbara Becker

Chicago, Illinois, USA


Customers were much more likely to spend money if I told them that we were raising funds for our friends to attend a Black liberation workshop. Some said, “What’s that?” which was great because it gave me a chance to explain that folks are working to heal from racism so that they can fight it even harder. Then I added that we have support groups for us white folks as well to work on ending racism. White people loved to hear about that and headed right over to the sale to find something to purchase or just to donate.

Madeline Talbott

Chicago, Illinois, USA


The sale was a way to be with Co-Counselors as allies in a liberation movement. It felt different from how we are in Co-Counseling sessions, classes, or workshops. I thought about my Co-Counselors in a bigger way.

When people wanted more information about what we were raising money for, I told them about Black Liberation and Community Development and United to End Racism. They listened with great attention. It reminded me that many people care about ending racism, even if old undischarged hurts get in their way of showing it all the time.

Patrick Zylka

Chicago, Illinois, USA


The sale was a chance for Cindy, the host of the event, to build connections with her neighbors and learn a little about what was happening in their lives and with their families. It was a beautiful thing to watch. Also beautiful was using the mission of the sale to start conversations with people about how we in RC work toward ending racism, and believe we can do it.

Lynnea Domienik

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Reprinted from the e-mail discussion list for RC Community members

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00