ASTEPers Community Mutual Aid Network

Dear ASTEP Community,

These are trying times. It’s more important than ever that we’re here for one another. This crisis is hitting all of us in different ways, and may continue to do so for a while.  There are many ways for us to support and be supported by each other as we move forward. Let’s figure out how best to serve each other and those around us.

*NOTE: This is not an official ASTEP program, but an effort among past and present ASTEPers to support our community.

What is Mutual Aid?

It’s showing up for each other. We all have needs. We also all have resources. Mutual aid is about finding ways for our collective resources to meet our collective needs. Right now we are all facing considerable challenges and may need help addressing them. 

  • Do you need groceries dropped off? 
  • Are you lonely/anxious/frustrated and need someone to talk to? 
  • Are you worried about paying bills or rent?
  • Does your family need something right now?

If I know anything about this community, I know we’re also searching for ways to be of service during this time. It may feel as though there’s little we can do, but even the littlest things can make a difference. 

  • Do you have the ability to safely run errands for others? 
  • Can you offer an online class? 
  • Would you like to share your art?
  • Could you extend financial assistance to someone who needs it? 

What Can You Do?

Fill out this form: ASTEPer Community Mutual Aid Form.

We’ve kept it simple: let us know what you need and what you have to offer. Of course we can’t promise that needs will be met or that offers will be accepted, but let’s see what we can do. You’ll also see a question about your connection to ASTEP. This isn’t about authentication, just an effort to be relational and share how we’re connected.

Safety

Looking out for each other also means being safe and limiting our social contact. Things that involve even minimal contact (drop-offs, etc.) will need to be handled very carefully and in line with medical guidance to limit the possibility of transmission.  We’ll have to get creative about how to hold each other up across distance. Good thing we’re creative people!

Other Resources For Mutual Aid

There are many localized mutual aid groups springing up in New York City and across the country. If you’re interested in how you can be there for your neighbors, check out these sites:

NYC United Against Coronavirus – Resources and Information

Mutual Aid NYC – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response

If you don’t live in New York, here is a national directory: 

Database of Localized Resources During COVID 19 Outbreak

Who We Are

We are two good friends and long-time ASTEPers who have worked alongside each other (and many of you) for 15+ years. We’re excited to invite you into this effort because we believe in this community and in our collective capacity for compassion and creative problem solving.

My name is Mauricio Tafur Salgado (mauriciotsalgado@gmail.com) and in this moment I am divinely tormented +first gen born to proudly subversive Colombians with graduate degrees + brown skinned + aspiring bio-regionalist + cis-hetero + married + artist pursuing justice and healing through a decolonial framework. I come from the everglades watershed, my antepasados and a solid plate of my grandma’s arepas and buñuelos. I am one of ASTEP’s co-founders and I am grateful for all that I learned from and with our artists at Shanti Bhavan, Art-In-Action in Homestead, Teach for India, Ubuntu, Refilwe, IRC Refugee Youth Summer Academy, Young at Arts in Bronxville, The ICC in Washington Heights, The Artist as Citizen Conference and our College Chapters.

I’m Seth Numrich (sethnumrich@gmail.com), an actor/theatre artist living in Brooklyn. I’ve organized and volunteered with ASTEP for Art-In-Action in Homestead, ICC in Washington Heights, Young at Arts in Bronxville and the Artist as Citizen Conference. he/him/his. This document is a work in progress and will continue to be refined as this effort develops. If you have questions, suggestions, or want to help us manage this doc, email: Astepersmutualaidnetwork@gmail.com