A BIPOC-student led initiative formed out of a need for financial and community support designated only to BIPOC folks.
Lafayette Mutual Aid is a collective of BIPOC students and alumni dedicated to building people’s power and amplifying shared access to housing, food, material, and financial resources for BIPOC folks at Lafayette College and in the Lehigh Valley. Lafayette Mutual Aid aims to provide a decentralized but cohesive BIPOC community support system to coordinate and connect mutual aid efforts on College Hill and beyond.
We aim to build the student power necessary to dismantle oppressive systems and provide sustainable structures for long term investment. Lafayette Mutual Aid believes that mutual aid is the foundation towards liberation; we stand in solidarity with the communities we serve and look forward to working with you throughout this journey.
- Solidify and support already existing mutual aid efforts on College Hill and in the Lehigh Valley.
- Facilitate capacity building in communities where they have identified concerns or needs through the organization of mutual aid funds as well as engagement with community institutions to strengthen their impact.
- Prioritizing funds for BIPOC queer, disabled, undocumented, and unhoused students and community members
- Address housing, food, material, and financial insecurity through collaborating with BIPOC community members and establishing an accessible fund network to cover the following:
- Tuition, rent, and housing assistance
- Books or other expected academic expenses, such as lab fees or codes for online textbooks
- Standardized testing and application fees
- Meal plans or grocery coverage
- Transportation and travel (i.e. study abroad or related fees)
- And anything that you want/need 🙂
- Establish working relationships with other mutual aid efforts, Laf Alumni Helps, Third Street Alliance, and Lehigh Valley Mutual Aid through future collaborative actions.
- Facilitate community education through outreach with BIPOC community members and allies.
MUTUAL AID FAQS
- What is the difference between mutual aid and charity?
Mutual aid relies on community power and shared resources, without institutional, state, or government intervention. It does not ask questions or pose demands in order to receive funds and support. In contrast, charity requires recipients to prove that they deserve funds, often reliving traumatic experiences for short-term and insufficient support.
- When and how does your team distribute funds?
We distribute on venmo, cashapp, and/or paypal weekly on Sunday. Currently, venmo and cashapp have a weekly transaction limit at $4,999 and $2,500, distribution will continue to occur until we (1) run out of funds or (2) hit our transaction limit. At which time, the request form will close to ensure that we can honor outstanding to-be-processed requests. Once we have cleared ongoing requests and have enough funds to cover new ones, the form will reopen.
- When providing funds, how do you vet potential scammers?
We refuse to opt into the violence of establishing “scammers” or validating identities of race/ethnicities, queerness, etc. and replicating the charitable sector’s interrogation of deservingness before providing support. However, we choose not to honor requests for folks who do not fall into these two categories: BIPOC community member and residing, working, or studying in the Lehigh Valley.
- What is the amount that I can request and how much will I receive?
You may request any amount that you need/want. Our currently capacity is max $300 per person each round of distribution. Until you notify us that the need is met, we will continue to boost for your resources.
- When will Lafayette Mutual Aid efforts end?
We will always keep open our donations through @lafmutualaid Venmo and $lafayettemutualaid Cash App. We will also redistribute as long as funds are available.
- How does your accountability process work?
We value accountability and transparency to the fullest extent. Thus, we have provided a form for community members to fill out their accounts of harmful encounters with LMA and its organizers: https://forms.gle/j8xwQbcPeDuQWjnJ6
Laf Mutual Aid will review your submission and reach back to you within 14 days.
Note: Laf Mutual Aid member reviewing the accountability forms changes every month. In situation where there has been an accountability form submitted concerning one of the members who was tasked to review the forms, the form will be passed on to a different members and the named individual will not have any access to the file.