Solidarity not charity

beehive that says all we have is each other
beehive that says all we have is each other
All We Have is Each Other. no bonzo. Amplifier Open Call for Art.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the United States, communities across the country have quickly picked up on mutual aid as a framework for both survival and bigger dreams. As the health and economic impacts of the pandemic have pushed virtually every inequality in this nation to the surface, mutual aid philosophy allows us to reimagine our society from one built on exploitation to one built through solidarity. As a disabled person, this structure has given me a new way of imagining what the rest of my life could look like.

Mutual aid is nothing new. In fact, it’s as old as human civilization. The anthropologist Margaret Mead is often cited as saying that the first sign of human civilization was not clay pots or fish hooks or grinding stones — it was a femur that had broken and healed. Mead argues that no animal survives a broken leg in the wild for long enough to heal. Therefore, a broken femur that has healed was a sign that someone who could not gather fruit, or hunt, or walk unassisted was cared for. Not for their productivity, but because they lived in solidarity with other people who took care of them. …

Content Note: Sexual Assault

Image for post
Image for post
Michelle Yeoh as Yim Wing Chun in the 1994 film, Wing Chun. Image courtesy of Cineplex

Over the holidays, my family held a Euchre tournament. For those who are not aware, Euchre is a variant of the card game Spades that allows the player to call a suit to be trump, but only if they think they can win a majority of the tricks. It was the semi-final rounds and I was paired with my Juju John against my cousin Heather and our Juju Terry. Heather had beastly skill and luck with card games. She was the kind of player who would follow up a straight flush with a royal flush in poker and in Euchre, she was the kind of player who would ‘Go Alone’ twice in a match. …

A couple months ago, I went to a Chinese restaurant with a couple of friends, who were also Chinese American. The restaurant was called Happy China and it sat at a confusing intersection. I remember I missed the turn the first time around. One of my friends ordered our food in Mandarin. When the server asked if I would like some water, I reflexively responded in Spanish, my most proficient second language.

My entire life, I’ve been treated by White community members as an expert on Chinese language and culture. I remember my first grade teacher asking me if Chinese people believed in God. Not knowing the actual answer, but knowing that I had seen the happy Buddha statues at the Asian market, I responded, “Yes, and they think he looks like a large fat man with big ears.” I felt so important as the newly-appointed representative for over a billion people that I had never met. But I was never really knowledgeable of Chinese language or culture. The first time I tried to say xiexie to thank my waiter at a restaurant, it sounded a lot more like ‘she-she.’ …


Nicholas L Hatcher

Artist/ Writer/ Organizer nerding out, fighting the good fight, and taking myself too seriously. Follow me everywhere @hatcherade

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