Call to support the They/Them Collective, which formed in the wake of #J20, and now continues to act as a base for building autonomy and mutual aid.
After the J20 trial, many of us dealt with and adjusted to the post trial situations as best we could. After our trial block on May 14th, 2018 was finished with a mixed result of acquittals and mistrials, many of us lost our jobs, housing, and savings; essentially, this trial led to displacement and further disorder in our lives. Many had a belief that after the trial was done, we would assimilate back to our lives as usual, that preconceived notion, is far from the truth. In fact, this trial created much fragmentation in our lives, the most we could do was find the silver lining behind the fuckery.
The trauma transcends beyond those immediately affected by the #j20 trials. Common in the “criminal justice” system, the trial and its aftermath was and is pervasive, within the community, family, and friendships. We found comfort in each other, helping each other and providing support where possible. As we work to overcome the overwhelming state that is post-trial trauma, many of us remain worried about our livelihoods; the most logical course of action has been to support each other, the foundation of our healing journey.
Many of us humored the development of a collective house centered on supporting each other after the #j20 trial. We discussed our aspirations and goals and envisioned this house being centered on anti-repression work and mutual aid stationed in DC, a vision greater than just a living space. We saw this house as active space; to organize, mobilize, and interact with other leftist comrades; particularly queer, trans, GNC, and two-spirited folks of color.
Eight months later, the They/Them house stands. What seemed to be a hard undertaking happened, even though at times we struggled to make it happen. Building this house came with ups and down along the way including limited financial support, but, it came with a community that was more than willing to support its development. We’ve created what was once just an idealized vision, a safe support system for those who are affected by the state’s invasive, systemic acts of repression.
August 1, 2018 was our move-in day. We are six months strong and intend to stay that way. With the help of our comrades and support of collectives like the Peace House DC, we’ve managed to keep up with the work we do; from #Vaughn17 court support to Resistance training panels and teach-ins, we are happy that we are able to convert our traumatic experience and turn it into something hopeful.
Since August 2018, our house has served as a shared space for local activists; providing shelter, kitchen, or mutual aid work; we would like your help in keeping it afloat as we move into this year. $25,000 will cover the costs for the rest of the year of sustaining the anti-repression activist home. Anything you can donate will go directly towards this work.
PROJECTS WE ARE WORKING ON
PRISONER LETTER WRITING TUESDAY: Every Tuesday, we make space to write letters to women, queer, trans and political prisoners. Out of this, has stemmed organizing for #Vaughn17 support.
VAUGHN 17 PRISONER SUPPORT: This is a joint effort led by members of both They/Them and Peace House. The Vaughn 17 trials began in October 2018 as a result of state repression against prisoner resistance in James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Delaware. The case runs parallel to J20, as on February 1st, 2017, prisoners rose up to liberate C-Building from oppressive conditions and were met with violence from the DOC and DOJ, but unlike J20 the Vaughn 17 did not have the same amount of support infrastructure that lead to J20 case dismissal. We got engaged in this work by driving out to Wilmington, DE to witness the trials and meet the comrades and family and friends of the defendants. Since then, we have worked very closely with the prisoners to center their needs fighting from the outside. This includes in-court support, putting money in commissary, phone zaps, letter writing nights, and organizing public events to speak about their case.
MUTUAL AID: They/Them house is part of a coalition of mutual aid organizers in D.C., including the Peace House, Black Lives Matter, and Resist This. We engage in mutual aid by participating in local free markets and helping the Peace House with the monthly free store, and bringing warm weather clothes to people living outside. Our house is also in the process of setting up a Little Free Library that holds radical literature and non-perishable foods, free for the people.
POST-ARRAIGNMENT SUPPORT: We are organizing to provide basic necessities (access to food, water, shoelaces, etc) to people coming out of DC jail.
RESISTANCE TRAINING: Creating educational space that is centered on intersectional issues, that stems from the August 10 training for #alloutdc.
STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH BLACK, BROWN AND INDIGENOUS RESISTANCE
They/Them Collective is committed to anti-racist, anti-cisheteropatriarchal, anti-capitalist resistance centering black, brown, and indigenous leadership in organizing. We recognize that we are living on occupied-Piscataway territory and that D.C. has rich cultural roots for the black community. In order to do anti-repression work, for those of us who are white in the space, we recognize our privilege and work to eradicate the system which benefits white privilege. For white people part of this collective, this means learning when to step back and when to step in, overcoming white fragility, and organizing under the guidance of black, brown, and indigenous womxn, trans and gender non-conforming people for collective liberation.
“Under any circumstances sociability is the greatest advantage in the struggle for life.”
― Pyotr Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution
We welcome you to They/them collective DC!, a gender-inclusive house sprouted out of the #J20 experience. Our mission and intention is to move our experiences beyond a traumatic moment and open windows to a better, more proactive future.
If you’re interested in donating to this house, please follow our donation link.