Mutual Aid Hub Shoutout

November 2020

[Instagram post]

http://www.mutualaidhub.org/

I’ve started doing monthly shoutouts to organizations engaging in advocacy, mutual aid, and other work, as both a resource to call on and for those looking for organizations to $upport. I hope to faithfully represent their goals and work, using social media to share examples of what real-world change and advocacy look like.

This month I’d like to highlight the Mutual Aid Hub, an online resource compiled by the Town Hall Project. This site features a map and list database of different mutual aid groups around the U.S., specifying their scopes and linking to websites when possible. Many of the groups specified work in food and resource distribution, especially during the current pandemic. If you are in need or want to get involved, this is a great place to start! This list is by no means exhaustive, though, and if you are in one of the states where nothing has been submitted it may take some extra digging. If you have the means to do so, recurring donations, such as monthly, are especially helpful to these efforts, who are community-based and often rely entirely on donations and volunteer efforts.

This is because mutual aid work is pretty much by definition outside government or large nonprofit organizations. Credit for popularizing the term usually goes to a compilation of essays published by naturalist and philosopher Peter Kropotkin in 1902, where he argued that cooperation serves an evolutionary and social purpose with both humans and animals, in contrast to applications of Darwin and competition. Today mutual aid takes many forms, such as members of a community coming together to collect and distribute food and supplies among their most vulnerable. These efforts are generally composed of volunteers and run on donations, and are often non-hierarchical as well, as the emphasis is on everyone helping each other. This is especially in contrast to government organizations or nonprofits, who may have conditions or restrictions on their aid, and whose financial support and priorities may not necessarily align with the interests of the communities in which they operate. Many other efforts can be considered mutual aid, and I encourage you to do your own research as this post is simply my own understanding of it. However I can say with certainty that mutual aid is a powerful tool to help ourselves and each other directly, and is becoming increasingly popular in the mainstream.

National Lawyer’s Guild Shoutout

October 2020

https://www.nlg.org/

https://www.nlg.org/know-your-rights

Hotline: (888) NLG-ECOL / (888) 654-3265

[Instagram Post]

I’ve started doing monthly shoutouts to organizations engaging in advocacy, mutual aid, and other work, as both a resource to call on and for those looking for organizations to $upport. I hope to faithfully represent their goals and work, using social media to share examples of what real-world change and advocacy look like.

This month I’d like to highlight the National Lawyer’s Guild, the oldest and largest progressive bar association in the U.S. They have been defending the rights of activists and protestors for decades, as well as providing resources and advocating for immigrant rights, labor rights, environmental justice, prison abolition, and those affected by the war on drugs.

There are many resources on their website alone, and I’d like to highlight their “Know Your Rights” pamphlet, which contains vital information for anyone approached by law enforcement about your rights to council and silence, as well as what to do in cases of warrants, grand juries, and your rights if you are a non-citizen approached by DHS. It is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Bengali, Urdu and Farsi. I recommend anyone in the U.S. who sees this post to download and read this guide–you never know when some of this information may become vitally important!

Community Justice Exchange Shoutout

September 2020

https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/

https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory

[Instagram Post]

I’ve started doing monthly shoutouts to organizations engaging in advocacy, mutual aid, and other work, as both a resource to call on and for those looking for organizations to $upport. I hope to faithfully represent their goals and work, using social media to share examples of what real-world change and advocacy look like.

This month I’d like to highlight the Community Justice Exchange, where organizing strategies and bottom-up interventions to end mass incarceration are shared and developed. Here you can find the National Bail Fund Network, a directory encompassing over 60 funds across the country. In light of recent events contributions are needed more than ever; the directory also links to bail funds specifically for helping protestors arrested this summer, funds for immigration detainees, though these are not the only legal defense funds out there!

Other resources they provide include guides for organizing and developing strategies, like So You Want to Courtwatch? This guide explains the different goals and tactics used by different organizations around the country, such as gathering data to use in training public defenders or advocacy campaigns, introducing more privileged communities to the workings of the court system, or as part of monitoring and accountability systems. The guide also lays out important considerations like courtroom access, the size of organizations involved, the type of information gathered and who it is for. It then details considerations about recruiting and retaining volunteers, leadership, training strategies, and how and where data is submitted. They have quite a few other guides publicly available for learning and developing strategies!

Inland Empire Harm Reduction Shoutout

August 2020

https://www.ieharmreduction.org/

[Instagram Post]

I’ve started doing monthly shoutouts to organizations engaging in advocacy, mutual aid, and other work, as both a resource to call on and for those looking for organizations to $upport. I hope to faithfully represent their goals and work, using social media to share examples of what real-world change and advocacy look like.

As some of you may know I’m based in Southern California, and this month I’m giving a shoutout to a local organization: Inland Empire Harm Reduction (IEHR), operating in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Harm reduction is an approach that accepts that drug usage is a part of our world, meets people where they’re at, and focuses on giving them the tools they need to safely manage their use, rather than shaming them for using.

IEHR does this by distributing resources like naloxone (Narcan), which can prevent death by overdose with opioids, as well as safe usage kits, clean supplies, information about safe usage or other health resources, and overdose prevention training. Check out their Instagram page and I promise you will learn something new about SoCal, safe usage, and mutual aid. I highly encourage you to look up harm reduction and other mutual aid orgs in your area!

If you like merch, they have a few different designs that are both fun and educational via @radhealthresources . (My personal favorites is the bucket hat that parodies the DARE logo with “NARCAN: Overdose deaths are preventable,” though their “All research and successful drug policy shows that treatment should be increased and law enforcement decreased while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences” T-shirt is also very popular.)

Black & Pink Shoutout

July 2020

https://www.blackandpink.org/

[Instagram Post]

I’ve decided to start doing monthly shoutouts to organizations engaging in advocacy, mutual aid, and other work, as both a resource to call on and for those looking for organizations to $upport. I hope to faithfully represent their goals and the work they are doing, and use social media to share examples of what real-world activism, advocacy, and change look like.

This month I’m giving a shoutout to Black & Pink, a nationwide prison abolitionist organization centered around currently or formerly incarcerated LGBT+ people and people living with HIV or AIDS (PLWHA). They work at both broader and smaller levels with a variety of programs–see my infographic and their website (link in bio) for more detailed information.

Within this spotlight I’d like to highlight their 2015 report “Coming out of Concrete Closets,” which collects the largest national set of data on LGBT+ prisoners and discusses these experiences in the context of the general prison population, criminalization of certain trades, and the issues LGBT+ individuals and PLWHA face. I found it to be a very accessible report, sharing often-unheard voices and recommending a thorough set of long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals and policy changes.