Ward 1 Mutual Aid - D.C. Mutual Aid Network

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About Ward 1 Mutual Aid - D.C. Mutual Aid Network

What is Ward 1 Mutual Aid?

The Ward 1 effort of the DC Mutual Aid Network is a grassroots, community-led effort taking care of each other and keeping our city as safe as possible. We recognize mutual aid is a universal practice that has deep roots in Black and Brown communities that have continued to be excluded from government assistance. Mutual aid is needed because we know we can’t rely on local government to meet all our needs with both urgency and dignity. That’s why the DC Mutual Aid Network exists. Even though movement has to be limited to stop the spread of COVID-19, we cannot forget about each other, especially under this pandemic.

In the Ward 1 effort of the DC Mutual Aid Network, we keep us safe by:
  • Purchasing and delivering groceries and cleaning supplies to over 150 Ward 1 neighbors weekly, picking up medications, and providing cash assistance;
  • Staffing an in-take phone line for residents with unmet needs;
    • Local government has been referring people to us instead of providing direct assistance themselves;
  • Working directly with local farmers to deliver fresh produce to Ward 1 residents;
  • Bringing in more than 100 organizers to participate in mutual aid;
  • Commissioning local artists to create new work in support of Ward 1 residents;
  • Uplifting stories of mutual aid today and historically in Washington D.C., and globally; and
  • Educating ourselves about cooperative effort, non-hierarchical leadership, and continuing to cultivate our visions for liberation.

With COVID-19 cases up to over 1.5 million across the country and 70,000 in the DMV alone as of mid-May, we must take necessary action to support each other and demand Mayor Bowser and DC Council ease the financial burden, house unhoused people, release people from jails and detention centers, and much more!

Beyond this pandemic, we are building a future that we want to see. We are administering services in a way that is not paternalistic, and grounded in a community advocating and providing for itself. We are providing resources that trust that people make the best decisions for themselves about how to spend those resources. We are non-hierarchical and decentralized, as we believe that the people closest to the problem are best positioned to design a response.

“The major job was getting people to understand that they had something within their power that they could use, and it could only be used if they understood what was happening and how group action could counter violence…”
— Ella Jo Baker

If you are interested in plugging into Ward 1 mutual aid and joining our bi-weekly onboarding calls, you can subscribe here. No cops/law enforcement/defense contractors or active-duty military are invited to join these calls. We do not believe the police keep us safe. #WeKeepUsSafe

How will your Ward 1 mutual aid contributions be used?
Mutual aid is solidarity work, and we are all volunteers. 100% of your contributions will go directly to the work and no one profits or makes an income from this work. Mutual aid is also founded in community accountability and decision-making. As such, here is a breakdown of how our funds are being spent:

  • Purchasing groceries and conducting deliveries for over 150 Ward 1 families weekly.
  • Picking up and delivering medicine
  • Providing clothing to Ward 1 residents
  • Providing hot meal lunches
  • Purchasing fresh produce from local Black farmers and distributing to Ward 1
  • Cash assistance for our most vulnerable community members
  • Creating inclusive, language accessible organizing spaces
  • Commissioning artist-led events with local storytellers, photographers, musicians, and more to share with you and support the critical work of local artists

In the future, we hope to dream bigger about how mutual aid can create a DMV that is better than before this crisis. We hope to use funds for the following:

  • Acquiring space to house people who are currently unhoused
  • Adding more delivery days
  • Acquiring a dedicated van for deliveries and distributing supplies
  • Acquiring land to farm fresh produce
  • Acquiring space to continue this work beyond COVID-19
  • And more. If you want to join us in dreaming bigger, subscribe here and join our next bi-weekly onboarding call.

"You didn't see me on television, you didn't see news stories about me. The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don't need strong leaders."
— Ella Jo Baker


Join Mutual Aid and Stay Updated
Your contributions will help us maintain our weekly deliveries of groceries, medications, and cleaning supplies. You will be invited to a monthly community video update that will provide updates on our work with the community in English and Spanish and be able to ask questions and give feedback about how the mutual aid network can better address your needs.

While a donation of $5 a month can help support our work, larger donations can help us sponsor virtual events with local artists for our Patreon community as well as help us dream bigger than before and build a larger mutual aid network beyond the pandemic. Please give as much as you are able to. For reference, $50 can feed a family of four for one week.

Minimum Donation: $5 a month

*If you are a Ward 1 resident and unable to give the minimum donation, but would still like to join the monthly community calls, please reach out to us at [email protected]. In the spirit of mutual aid, we welcome contributions of time and talents in place of monetary contributions.

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