They Feared This Community Effort So Much, They Made It A Felony

Black and white photo of youth and mother at a protest
Zain Murdock
November 8, 2021

From the Black Panthers’ free breakfast program to neighborhood COVID-19 funds, mutual aid has always been key to Black revolution and survival. And YOU can do it right now, even without money.

But how?

From bringing medicine to a newly disabled friend, to watching your working neighbor’s baby, to sharing your books with the kid across the street, mutual aid can work anywhere! Here’s how it’s different from charity – and why they don’t want us to do it.

Unlike charity, mutual aid centers community supporting each other, and recognizes that systems like capitalism, racism, and ableism are what force people to struggle. It’s a way to build power through cooperation and solidarity. 

Black people have always done this – and states like Maryland, which made it a felony to join mutual aid societies in 1842, have always fought to dismantle that work because it’s too empowering!

So, the next time you see something about a system that horrifies you and wonder, “What can I do?“ You actually won’t have to end up in the black hole of “There’s nothing I can fix."

You might not burn a building or abolish a system overnight, but you can look in your own neighborhoods, streets, and cities for how to meet each other’s resources and needs. Want some ideas and examples? Visit!

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