Tag Archives: Mutual Aid

The South End Guide to Winter Preparedness

by Victor Simoes

In 2021, Seattle saw its coldest day in 73 years, and this year, winter does not seem to be getting any easier. La Ninã, the leading global weather driver for the upcoming winter season for the third winter in a row, tends to bring cooler and wetter conditions to the season. With three of the last four years having record-breaking or record-tying snow events, this winter is set to continue the pattern, according to The Climate Prediction Center.

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South End Guides ❘ Mutual Aid Groups in South Seattle

by Amanda Ong

Need help with food, clothing, or other essentials; or want to give directly to our South End neighbors? South Seattle has a number of wonderful mutual aid groups that help sustain and support our communities. Mutual aid is a practice of direct community and resource sharing to help meet each other’s needs — typically without ties to nonprofits or other organizations. Instead of charity, mutual aid operates in solidarity, recognizing that our health and well-being are bound up in collective care. 

Sounds great, but how do you find these mutual aid groups? 

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Lara De La Rosa Is Reimagining Entrepreneurship at Lazy Cow Bakery

by Emma Lower

“I love to bake … but I didn’t open the business to be a baker,” says Lara de la Rosa, the 23-year-old head pastry chef at the vegan Lazy Cow Bakery in Fremont. 

Instead, de la Rosa is a theorist putting her vision of a worker-owned, woman- and Latinx-centered world into practice. Lazy Cow doubles as a mutual-aid organization and Latinx cultural center called La Casa del Xoloitzcuintle. Perhaps it’s the vegan raspberry almond croissant she has already offered me, or the red roses on her kitchen table, her anecdotal humor and light laugh, but she has the distinct aesthetic of being fully alive.

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OPINION: Centering Compassion in Little Saigon

by Mimi To and Jasmine Tran

Hi, our names are Mimi and Jasmine. We are members of the ACRS Civic Engagement Youth Organizing Team. ACRS (Asian Counseling and Referral Service) is a nonprofit founded in Seattle that offers community-based multilingual and multicultural services to the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. We are both Vietnamese American women who care deeply for our community and work to serve its goals.

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Lunar New Year and ChuMinh Tofu’s Radical Compassion

by Amanda Ong

On Feb. 6, along 12th Avenue and Jackson Street in Little Saigon, ChuMinh Tofu Vegan Deli hosted a Lunar New Year meal for guests lined down the block. The special menu included rice, vegan BBQ pork, spicy tofu, stir-fried veggies, eggrolls, oranges, and $1,000 distributed to guests in red envelopes. Volunteers served the free food and passed out the envelopes along with warm clothes and supplies to their many guests — not customers per se, but people in need of a warm meal and who may struggle to afford one most days. 

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Love, Mutual Aid, and Humanity at ChuMinh Tofu

by Johnny Fikru and Johnny Mao

It is no accident that ChuMinh Tofu still stands tall in a spot that other businesses have long since vacated. 

To date, Thanh-Nga “Tanya” Nguyễn and her staff have held down the spot on South Jackson Street for 10 years. Tanya’s journey to ChuMinh has involved a myriad of pathways. Medical school in Vietnam, biochemistry, a mindfulness in Buddhism, a passion for tofu, and a culture of caring — all manifest into the language of love present at ChuMinh to this day: food and mutual aid.

“I met Tanya years ago — I would come to ChuMinh Tofu and buy meals for community meetings. In the era I was raised in, banh mi was part of the diet at community meetings,” said organizer Johnny Fikru. “As I walked inside trying to determine what I wanted to eat, I was struck by the warm presence of Tanya. Anyone that’s ever been lucky enough to feel that energy knows exactly what I’m talking about. It’s an inviting and warm presence. It’s authentic. It’s caring. It is peaceful. I was welcomed in a way that I haven’t felt at a restaurant, and it felt so great.” 

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Youth Groups Host Mutual Aid Event for Rainier Beach

by Chamidae Ford

On the cusp of their one-year anniversary, the Emerald Youth Organizing Collective (EYOC) has become one of the foremost youth collectives in the area, having recently endorsed Nikkita Oliver for Seattle City Council.

EYOC began to take shape during Kirsten Harris-Talley’s campaign last summer. The founder, Andrew Hong, was working as a field organizer and went on to start the campaign’s youth team. 

“After Kirsten won the election, we thought we had a good structure and continued interest so we rebranded to Emerald Youth Organizing Collective a few months later,” Hong said. “We continued doing work mostly in the state Legislature but we also did some community work too, and now we’re rapidly expanding the projects we do.” 

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OPINION: Seattle Activists’ Continued Fight for Mutual Aid, True Equity, and Defunding SPD

by Luna Reyna

One-quarter of the entire 2020 Seattle city budget was allocated to the Seattle Police Department (SPD). While last summer’s protests over anti-Black police violence and calls to defund the police resulted in an 18% decrease in the 2021 SPD budget, $364 million was still allocated to SPD. This is an affront to community-led organizations like King County Equity Now (KCEN) and so many others who have been providing much-needed community support and succeeding in creating real public safety

KCEN, which started as an informal coalition of over 60 Black-led community organizations like Africatown Community Landtrust, Community Passageways, and Blaq Elephant Party, is now a formal, pro-Black 501(c)(4) dedicated to achieving equity for all Black peoples across all measurable metrics, including, wealth, health, land ownership, safety, college matriculation rates, organizational control, and more. 

In the ’70s, the Central District’s population was 75% Black, but as a result of Seattle’s tech boom and resulting gentrification, the CD is now only 15% Black. 

“My family was gentrified from the Central District in 2003,” said TraeAnna Holiday, an organizer with KCEN. “I remember wondering why my family couldn’t stay in our neighborhood. This was our neighborhood; I knew it in and out.” 

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Cleveland High School Mutual Aid Drive Seeks Community Support

by Ronnie Estoque

Sophomores at Cleveland High School in Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood have spent the last few weeks gathering donations for a mutual aid drive that they have been planning alongside the Humanities Department, staff, administration, and the school PTSA. The event was made possible due to an identified need to better support families of Cleveland students that may have experienced intensified financial hardship in the past year due to the pandemic. 

The mutual aid event aims to help address a lack of basic household goods for students and their families. “We’ve been supporting families this year in a variety of ways … the reality is that a lot of the resources that we have available aren’t supporting those basic needs,” Cleveland High School social worker Trisa Ibarra said. 

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‘Music With a Message’ Campaign Ends This Weekend, but There Is Still Time to Donate

by Jack Russillo

All 12 of the virtual concerts have been published, but there is still time to donate food and money to the campaign that is helping people access meaningful resources while also creating a platform for local musical artists.

For the last 12 weeks, the Music with a Message campaign featured weekly virtual performances by 12 artists from the Seattle area to raise food and monetary donations for Rainier Valley Food Bank and South King County & Eastside COVID Mutual Aid. To date, more than 1,130 pounds of food has been donated through the campaign and about $2,500 has been raised, which will be split between the two non-profits.

People who want to donate food through the campaign have until the end of the day on Sunday, April 4, to drop food off at any of the partnering businesses, such as The Reef Cannabis, The Bakeréé, and Clutch Cannabis.

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