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Join us for an interactive program about religion and mutual aid co-hosted by History for the Future.

During this pivotal moment of a global viral pandemic and the simultaneous nation-wide reckoning with the impacts of systemic injustices and inequalities on the lives of many, the past year has laid bare the lack of structural resources to provide for the most vulnerable. The repeated purging and shrinking of social welfare programs over the past three decades has led to many individuals and families who are unable to have their basic needs met during a global crisis. In the absence of these structures, communities have gathered together to take care of their own. While much of this work came through grassroots organizing, much of it also utilized the structures of religious institutions and faith communities to effectively provide mutual aid. The goal of this workshop is to expand and strengthen our collective understanding of mutual aid and care work and the importance of extending communal care during a time of global crisis.

This workshop will focus on the histories of mutual aid within faith institutions and how these histories have led religious institutions to be able to assist during this crucial moment of increasing despair and hardship due to the pandemic. The needs for housing, food, education, health resources have been there before the pandemic and will be after. What can we learn from these structures of care that are already in place and implement them into our daily lives? In addition to providing historical context, this workshop will explore various definitions of mutual aid and look to document participants’ own relationship to mutual aid and religion.

What to expect:

This is an interactive workshop gathering community perspectives on the meaning of mutual aid in faith institutions. Attendees will:

– participate in small group discussions using breakout rooms on Zoom.

– work together to generate a collaborative definition of mutual aid.

– collaborate in writing using Google Docs.

The facilitators will provide support with these technologies.

We intend for this work to live on in a public setting, likely an exhibition highlighting the vital work of faith institutions in the Twin Cities.

About the facilitators:

Amber Delgado, Mohamud Mohamed, and Treasure Tinsley are graduate students in the Heritage Studies and Public History Program at the University of Minnesota.

About History for the Future:

This Minneapolis-based public history project by Acoma Gaither and Andrea Manolov explores histories of mutual aid in the Twin Cities, asking how past and present day mutual aid work can help us imagine radical futures. Archival materials provide the basis for dialogue and generative knowledge sharing at public programs, which will culminate in an exhibition temporarily placed in a community lot operated by Moon Palace Books in South Minneapolis in May 2021. Learn more.

Open space next to Moon Palace Books in Longfellow Minneapolis. History for the Future installation date: May, 2021.

Open space next to Moon Palace Books in Longfellow Minneapolis. History for the Future installation date: May, 2021.

Image credits:

Community garden on Lake Street, Summer 2020, courtesy Andrea Manolov

Holy Trinity English Lutheran Church, circa 1920s, John H. Kammerdiener Collection, Hennepin County Library

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