I often try to sit with and recognize the immense privileges I have in my life—good health, close familial/friendship/romantic relationships, a steady and well-paying job, health insurance, a home, consistent food (homemade and from restaurants), home decor, countless clothes and accessories, etc., but I haven’t truly felt the financial disparities between me and others in my community until my partner and I befriended our houseless friend—let’s call him Troy* (*name has been changed for his privacy). I’ve always cared deeply about homeless folks in my neighborhood and everywhere else I travel, trying to constantly give my money away whenever possible. I despise the fact that people are struggling financially, living on the street, or are incarcerated due to a lack of funding when I get to sit in my cozy home wearing the clothes I love and eating delicious food. When I coordinated Community Outreach Court and conducted outreach with houseless folks in my area on a daily basis, the poverty gap was even more visible to me. Many of my clients had no safety net or support system to help them through difficult and painful situations, so I tried my best to at least lessen their burdens in the few ways I could. However, even interacting with clients every day didn’t allow me to truly feel what they experienced. Ever since my partner and I met Troy several months ago, everything I do/consume/enjoy throughout the day seems so devastating when I think about what he has to suffer through in his living situation. While there are so many folks struggling throughout the year, I want to make sure that the joy those of us lucky enough to celebrate the holiday season experience from gift giving/receiving, on sale purchasing, treat devouring, drink consuming, etc. isn’t only from our frivolous moments. On 2022 Giving Tuesday, I hope that sharing a handful of vulnerable causes urges you all to contribute some funding toward those who don’t have what we have.
I hope you’ll consider sharing your 2022 Giving Tuesday money with Survived & Punished NY as they support criminalized survivors through commissary donations. Many people inside would love to receive monies on their commissary as essentials like snacks, toothpaste, soap, and sanitary products are housed there. Two of my dear abolitionist friends are raising money for their friend AJ who was recently released from prison and needs help with housing and receiving her ID. She can receive donations via Cash App at $TAVIUS44, Venmo at YvesNguyen, or PayPal at YvesTng@gmail.com. Long-time houseless organizer in New York, Sinthia Vee has been fighting for community control of the streets where she lives for years and your 2022 Giving Tuesday funds could go toward helping her recover from a debilitating stroke. She’s suffered through violent sweeps and severe abuse in the shelter system since she became houseless from gentrification. Any money given for Sinthia will help purchase basic necessities and items she wants as she recovers. Donations can be sent through Cash App at wspmutualaid1 or Venmo at wspmutualaid. One of my most revered abolitionist leaders, Mariame Kaba, is raising money for REBUILD: A Help Me Find a Therapist Program that connects over 5,000 formerly incarcerated and criminalized people of color to free therapists of color. The State does nothing to assist formerly incarcerated folks once they’re released, and this program will do amazing work for mental health support. 2022 Giving Tuesday funds can also go to financially supporting former Black Panthers and organizers against the prison industrial complex, KKK, and state violence—JoNina Abron-Ervin and Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin—as they transition from Kansas City to Tennessee. All donations will go toward paying for their extended stay motel fees and can be sent to Cash App at $zinemachine or Venmo at zinemachine.
Lastly, I’d love to raise some funds for my friend Troy during the holiday season. He doesn’t ask for anything for himself, but he always wants assistance in purchasing cat food to feed the many cats he cares for and loves on in the area. My partner and I frequently buy Troy cans and bags of cat food, but I’d also like him to have some money just for himself. If you feel heartened to donate, you can kindly send any funds to my Venmo at nkakimoto with the comment “For T” and I’ll distribute them to him before Christmas. Please also consider giving money to houseless folks whenever you see them and especially now with food prices as high as they are. People are truly hurting everywhere and we owe it to each other to take care of those who need assistance.