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CHMA Weekly Updates: November 1, 2020


Welcome to the CHMA Newsletter! This is a space for updates about what’s been going on, what’s coming up, and how you can get involved with Crown Heights Mutual Aid.

If you’re receiving this newsletter because you made a donation to CHMA, thank you! You are helping make it possible for CHMA to keep doing what we do. 

If you have recently joined CHMA, welcome! We hope you can get involved in a way you enjoy. That’s one of the things that puts the “mutual” in “mutual aid!” Browse through our Slack channels to find what interests you, and you can get plugged in through this Working Groups document. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to get it started!


Community Call and beyond. On Saturday, October 24, the Partnerships and Community + Structure working groups held a Community Call to report back on interviews with longtime Black organizations and CHMA partners in the neighborhood. The Education Working Group also provided some context for the neighborhood's history and demographics, and Community + Structure provided CHMA internal survey data to compare our composition to that of the neighborhood. Participants then discussed our group's location/identity in the neighborhood and within social movements, and some possible formations to help us become more accountable to longtime Black organizing in Crown Heights.

Our Fundraiser is Still Going! We’ve extended our fundraiser on ioby! While we raised a good amount of money to help get groceries to our neighbors, we haven’t reached our $125,000 goal just yet, so we’ve extended our fundraiser through January. You can donate through this page using a credit or debit card, and the donation is tax-deductible. Feel free to share on Instagram and Twitter as well!


Updates from Our Working Groups


Community Structure: The CHMA-wide survey went out earlier this week, and we got a lot of great data in time for the Community Call.  Speaking of the Community Call, after lots of thoughtful organizing, we successfully hosted 44 people for the call and got into a genuine space of reflection after seven months into our existence. Because of staffing issues, we’re hosting Orientations primarily on Sundays. And the legal waiver has been added to the volunteer form.

Housing: Tenant protections in NYC have been lifted slowly in the past few months—evictions are happening now and will be ramping up through the end of fall and into winter. A direct result will be an increase in neighbors experiencing houselessness, so we’re brainstorming ways to respond to this crisis. We’re continuing to support tenants and housing groups through actions and distribution of info and resources (because Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it intentionally tricky for tenants to know their rights!) Join our meetings to learn how to get or provide support. 

Accountability + Reconciliation: Accountability + Reconciliation is continuing to visit CHMA working groups to hold conversations about Accountability principles and membership selection for our inaugural Accountability and Reconciliation Collective (ARC). The working group is compiling training resources related to community accountability, transformative justice, and communication tools for movement organizers.

Partnerships: We're working on revisiting our partnerships with organizations in light of the community call to talk about how to strategically coordinate efforts with other orgs in Crown Heights.

Intake: The SMS delivery pickup is LIVE! Pickups can still be claimed via Slack for the time being, but if you don’t frequent Slack, you can visit an updated version of our Open Requests Map to claim a delivery. Just enter your phone number to receive the info via SMS, and you’ll be good to go! (For intake volunteers, this means no more monitoring your tickets on Slack!) 


Tech: Work continues on updating the delivery map to fully support volunteer assigning via SMS. It is being tested by some volunteers before we release it to everyone. New designs for the recurring donation page on the websites are in progress. We are looking for a volunteer to pick up this work! Welcome to the many new active tech contributors this month! 

Communications: We are collecting and going over CHMA demographics data, to help us develop more helpful approaches to work in the community. If you haven't taken it yet, it’s here: 


Education: The Freedom Winter Reading Series continues tonight, with Dean Spade’s Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (And The Next) PDF available
in #studygroup Slack channel, or if you can, purchase the book here. For 11/2, we’ll be reading pages 12-26. And for our next meeting on 11/9, we’ll have a webinar opening up, where panelists will discuss Deconstructing Settler Colonialism and Borders. We’ll read texts on the topic via two sessions (to be discussed in two separate Education WG mtgs in November). Along with the webinar we’ll discuss Session 5 texts, accessible here. For an overview of the larger Freedom Winter program/curriculum, check out this page.


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