At the intersection of Aetna Street and Tyrone Avenue in Van Nuys, student members of the Asian American Studies Pathways Project (AASPP) and the CSUN Young Democratic Socialists Club (CSUN YDSA) and members of the nonprofit organization Colored Minds Incorporated gathered on Nov. 19 to offer mutual aid to unhoused community members. On the eve of the holiday season and the coming drop in temperatures, they set out warm blankets and clothing, water and masks on folding tables and canvassed the neighborhood, inviting members of the local unhoused communities to take what they like.
CSUN graduate student Daniel Garcia, founder of Colored Minds Incorporated, described mutual aid as a framework for building community power that is grounded in solidarity and connection. The event was an opportunity for CSUN students to connect with people experiencing homelessness and to learn, first-hand, how people are affected by various systems and structures.
Holly Lin from AASPP described the experience as being “really, really inspiring.”
“Community organizing and doing the work is so crucial, especially since it’s right before Christmas,” said Lin. “We are able to talk and connect with them and it’s amazing to be able to engage with everyone.”