The Sportula: Early Summer Update

“You want to know how you’ll know if you’re doing disability justice? You’ll know you’re doing it because people will show up late, someone will vomit, someone will have a panic attack and nothing will happen on time because the ramp is broken on the supposedly “accessible” building. You won’t meet your “benchmarks,” on time or ever….”

“To Survive the Trumpocalypse, We Need Wild Disability Justice Dreams”

Salvete Sportulerxs,

I write this to update you on our progress (or lack there of) during these summer doldrums. After a flurry of activity trying to build our name up, reach more students, and fundraise, I am still blown away by the surreal amount of support we’ve enjoyed. It is especially amazing to me that even with all our imperfections — my tardiness replying to emails in fits of social anxiety, Djesika’s having to put our Facebook posts on hold while she finished the semester, the support has continued and each week more kind words and donations small and LARGE trickle in. Thank you for your embrace of our little organization; thank you for accepting us in all our imperfect humanness.

Here is what is on the horizon for the Sportula:

1) We plan to officially shift power from (mainly) Djesika and me to our collective as a whole once Djesika returns from Texas in late July. Although we’ve been making moves to do this for a few months now, life intervened — the prof helping us set up tax/401c stuff had to leave for Greece, Djes got into MMUF. To be quite honest, I have been selfishly monopolizing our twitter because it is just so personally gratifying to be able to give out microgrants — only after all these months am I finally ready to pry the Sportula out of my own hands. Because we are an organization that insists on collectivity and I want to avoid our having founder’s syndrome or becoming about individual ego. But thank you for bearing with me — it has been so profoundly meaningful to me to get to start this little collective up!!

2) To that end, we will also be having the official meetings when Djes gets back to make sure we’re all fully set up organizationally for what we anticipate will be the larger volume of requests once the academic year starts up again. So if you are still interested in joining our leadership collective (BIPOC classicists, including people of mixed heritage, of all levels)) or our general collective (all classicists, of all levels) please contact us by July 20th! After our initial collectives were set up, we received a lot more inquiries about getting involved, and we are so happy to have you all join us. For those who already emailed us after our first collective communications, you are not out of the loop! We just haven’t done a ton of stuff yet.

3) Important logistical note: we’ve been able to give out microgrants in excess of our budgeted $300 a week all this time, because I have a sweet side job as a tutor for a company that remunerates me very generously. However, now that it’s summer and I don’t have my primary teaching income, I will not be able to supplement The Sportula again until school starts back up. Thus, depending on how summer requests shape up, we may have to delay/ say first come first served on microgrants once we’ve reached our weekly budget each week. However, students, this is NOT a guilt trip/ tacit way of discouraging you from asking for one. Because we’re not in trouble financially, we just have to stick a bit more seriously to our normal budget for the next two months only!

4) Speaking of funds: Our gofundme is always up for donations, but our next planned fundraiser is going to be the SCSAIA in January. Once we have had more collective meetings, we will designate a point person just for the SCSAIA because it’s such a good opportunity to introduce our work to so many classicists at the same time. We plan on pulling out all the stops — sewing hats to sell, having a fundraising hotel party featuring leadership collective member Ashley Lance’s killer playlist, following keynote speaker Mary Beard around in a very consensual and feminist non-stalker-y way asking her to consider tweeting our mission to her 200,000 twitter followers, acquiring 3 drones and dressing them up like the Erinyes and flying them around the heads of tenured profs until they all donate $20. Seriously though, roughly 2000 people register for the SCSAIA each year, so if we could get just $20 from half of you, or $40 from a quarter of you, we would raise in three days more than our entire budget for this year. So look out for announcements and requests for gifts-in-kind like letting us keep our fundraising stuff in your hotel room as we get closer to January! In the meantime, we were wondering if anyone has hookups to any of the following for free or cheap:

  • Screenprinting or other forms of t-shirt making (we can provide the actual shirts)
  • Any “logo makers” — engraving/etching devices, sticker makers, basically anything else we can use to create branded stuff like pins or pens or cups
  • A working knowledge of the SCSAIA “rules” — such as where we’re allowed to fundraise, whether we would be able to get a table in the book room or somewhere, the best ways to publicize ourselves within the conference itself, whether we could get in trouble for hanging 50,000 Sportula posters in every room of the conference.
  • Crafters — we have received more offers to sew/knit stuff than we anticipated — awesome to see these ancient arts kept alive. Another collective member will soon be making a designated list serv just to coordinate “crafting for the sportula” so if you want to be added to that list simply email or DM us your contact info! We also welcome anything you might particularly enjoy making, whether that’s scarves, hats, potholders, anything at all, so don’t feel you *have* to coordinate with us to get started on something.
  • Once we have our big meetings later on this summer, we will certainly have more requests — but self-made/craft stuff can be especially time-consuming, so we wanted to put that out there early!

5) If you’ve read this far, thank you for your attention and support. I want to assure you that our slowness this summer is not a lack of commitment to the Sportula or any of our deeply valued donors. Rather, we are taking our time and moving at a pace that is truly sustainable for us so that this project can last sustainably for the long-term. And it’s true, that means sometimes not being as efficient as the more polished grant programs because Djes’ kid is a dramatic artistic Scorpio who needs and deserves lots of love and quality time; or because my jerk of a depression brain lays me out useless sometimes and on some level can’t take in all the kindness The Sportula has been blessed with. But that’s also what makes our community strong — it’s a true community, of interdependence, and even in our relative quietness this past month y’all have still been promoting us and growing us through your microgrant requests, donations, and patient understanding. That opens up a space for people like us, like all of us, in academia and organizing. Thank you. Every single one of you has been critical to our success. So just an update to ensure you that…

6) TL;DR: we might be quiet, but we’re still here (still queer!) and look forward to resting and then growing even more this summer!

[Photo Credit: Rest for Resistance, awesome QTPOC Disability Culture Collective: restforresistance.com]

Djesika Bel Watson and Stefani Echeverría-Fenn

Written by

The wrong side/of a new Brooklyn (Hana Malia)

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