UChicago Monthly Mutual Aid Network

Mutual aid has existed for all of time – very simply, it’s people helping each other survive. Most people engage in mutual aid without even putting a name to it, because when we see our friends, family, or community struggle, we help. 

A major goal of the capitalist/imperialist/carceral project is to subdue and suppress our care for each other by limiting how we interact – by choking out our communities and by dividing us. UChicago is an expert in this manufactured isolation. Utilizing UCPD as its enforcers of suppression in areas around campus, an artificial boundary has been built between students at UChicago and the neighborhoods around us. UCPD and CPD provide two layers of surveillance and harassment across the south side. Increased harassment and scrutiny – and no breathing room – for the majority black neighborhoods around us follows. The UChicago community is confined within the bounds of campus, bounds that are continually expanding further into the neighborhoods around us, forcing residents out, raising prices for housing and food as students and admin bring wealth in and policing keeps out anyone the university doesn’t want as a part of their campus.  

We have a responsibility to each other to overcome the separation policing creates. Sustainable, monthly mutual aid, as a community, is an extremely achievable active step of community building. As students and UChicago community members, we must move ourselves, our voices, and our money with specific intention and active care for the community around us. 

The UChicago monthly mutual aid network invites us to do just that. It’s an easy commitment – just a small amount of money directed monthly to a fund picked for you. Our goal is to specifically fund people and groups in Southside who need money, funds without much broader attention for people in our community. We hope to make this an ever-expanding effort, both by bringing more and more people from UChicago into the network, and by providing an ongoing sense of connection between the people who will get the money and the people who will donate. We all exist in the same place, our stories are not distinct from each other, nor is our money – this network seeks to reflect that. Some months we also hope to take more of an active role in our mutual aid, raising money for us to buy and deliver clothes or food, to share our time and presence as well as our money.

Anyone and everyone in the UChicago community is invited to join the network. You can join by filling out the Google Form which just asks for email, venmo (optional), and your choice of monthly donation. Once you do this, you’ll get an email every month from us with the fund of the month and some background info, and a venmo request for the monthly amount you’ve chosen – so it’s as easy as possible for you. Alternatively, you can donate straight to the fund, and share your receipt to the email thread. Receipts from donations through the venmo being shared to the fund will also be sent to the email thread – then, we can all see how much we’re raising and hold each other accountable in a very friendly way for fulfilling the monthly donations. We will also try to give out some stickers and zines to a few people every month who share their receipts because we really believe the benefit of a network like this is community and accountability to each other. Some months we will also invite people to do more than just donate, through specific asks from community members who may need more than just money.