Hi, my name is Mahi.
I am part of the host-committee for MMMC 2015.
I will tell you about my involvement with RG and MMMC 2014 last year.
When I moved to Colorado, it was because of money.
I couldn’t find a job as an engineer in Minneapolis, Minnesota and didn’t have an income.
So, I married a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered man and left.
My parents have wealth.
I stand to inherit wealth, and don’t have direct access to wealth.
(I learned to say these lines confidently after attending MMMC 2014.)
So, when I moved to Colorado, I was lonely.
I learned about RG through a South Asian listserv, and I joined.
I developed an RG crush on our chapter leader Mac Liman.
Our relationship was activist polite.
Then suddenly she began calling. A lot.
As the Associate Director of RG, fundraising is one of my main responsibilities. I was nervous in the weeks leading up to our fall fundraising campaign. Not only was it my first appeal, but we also decided to make significant changes to the process.
Yes, my first appeal and we decided to change things. Pretty silly, right? But after receiving feedback from our membership base and broader community, we decided it was important to ask everyone – current, renewing, and expired members – to contribute to RG. This would be a big shift from previous years where we only targeted members who were expiring or expired. We wanted to give everyone a chance to connect with a RG staff or board member about our work, because we care about and depend on that feedback. We also wanted to take the opportunity to personally thank our members for the time, energy, and resources they give to RG. As for our current members, we invited them to give a special gift during the appeal because we know that donating money is an opportunity for members to express their appreciation for and investment in this community.
By Alok Vaid-Menon of @DarkMatterRage
This past month I had the privilege to help fundraise for some movement organizations that I love (including Audre Lorde Project, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, Streetwise and Safe, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and FIERCE!) as part of GIVE OUT DAY an annual day of supporting LGBTQ organizations. All of these organizations center issues facing low income queer and trans people of color. In a funding climate that offers gay marriage as the panacea for queer people and legal equality as the solution for people of color, you can imagine that it’s very difficult for organizations like these to sustain their work. Grassroots support from folks like you and me go a long way in allowing these organizations not only to continue their crucial work, but also to have the freedom to self-determine political agendas.
I wasn’t always this excited about fundraising. I only recently developed my passion for this craft. You see I was one of those ‘radical’ thinkers that thought that any conversation about money was about capitalist culture (and therefore automatically problematic). As I began to organize more I recognized that what I thought were my radical anti-capitalist politics was really my class privilege. I grew up in a family with two PhD parents where we were taught to pursue knowledge at all costs. Accordingly, I’ve always had the financial security to discuss political theory in the abstract, without facing the material consequences of these ideas. In these spaces ‘radical’ is less about your actual impact (ability to redistribute capital and resources) and more about the quality and ambition of your argument. What such ‘radical’ theory often refuses to question is how many of us have the privilege to not think about money and organizing because we have institutional affiliation at private universities that give us money to travel and do our work. I didn’t have to worry about the costs to and from political meetings, because I had enough money to sustain my life (housing, food, etc.) outside of my ‘political work.’
Note: Nicole is former staff, current member leader and author of our recent book, Between the Silver Spoon and the Struggle: Reflections on the Intersection of Racism and Class Privilege. This interview is reposted from BlackGivesBack.com.
Between a Silver Spoon and The Struggle: Reflections on the Intersection of Racism and Class Privilege is the newly released book by Nicole Lewis and Resource Generation. A central question of the book: Can rich kids really be down?