JACK Partners with We Keep Us Safe to Transform Into Hub for Food Distribution
Brooklyn performance space JACK announced a partnership with the mutual aid group We Keep Us Safe Abolitionist Network to transform its theater into a hub for the distribution of food to neighbors in need. Dozens of volunteers are involved, and already, more than 100 families have received food as part of the effort, which will continue through the shutdown.
The aim of the effort is to address the lack of support and resources provided to the economically-disadvantaged members of our community. This assistance is critical, as these populations disproportionately represent the front-line workers suffering most from the virus.
"We see this moment as a challenge for us to define what it means to be in solidarity with our community, and to thrust ourselves into being of use to those around us. At some point, hopefully sooner rather than later, we will be sharing more performances and conversations, but this is the effort we feel called to support right now." - Alec Duffy, founder and Co-Director of JACK.
We Keep Us Safe (WKUS) is a Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led mutual aid group that grew out of the No New Jails NYC movement. Dozens of volunteers are involved in the effort, which began in mid-March when WKUS organized phone banks to identify and catalog the needs of Brooklyn's public housing residents. Volunteers procured and began to distribute the needed food and supplies from a staging area in Brownsville. When that space closed at the end of March, JACK took over as the central site for collecting, sorting, arranging and delivering these emergency resources as care packages to families in need.
This initiative advances JACK's mission to fuel experiments in art and activism. Specifically, it builds upon JACK's work providing a space for dialogue and action around racial justice, including the series Forward Ferguson in 2015 and the ongoing Reparations365 series (launched in 2017) that has featured over forty performances and community conversations around distributive justice for Black Americans.
The project is funded in part by a grant from Brooklyn Community Foundation's COVID-19 initiative in partnership with the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, as well as with support from The Puffin Foundation and from the generosity of many individual donors.
Photo credit: "Courtesy of JACK"