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The words mutual aid seem to be on everyone’s lips right now. What exactly is mutual aid? And how do we set up a mutual aid project that makes the impact our communities need? Dean Spade walks us through the basics of mutual aid, flags some common pitfalls that can shift mutual aid efforts toward charity or social service models, the dangers of demobilizing political engagement, and the tools folks can use to get started today.

Dean has been active in movements to end poverty, criminalization, and immigration enforcement over the last 23 years. In 2002, he founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a nonprofit collective that provides free legal help to low-income people and people of color who are trans, intersex, and/or gender non-conforming, and he works to build trans resistance rooted in racial and economic justice. He is the author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law (Duke University Press 2015).

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