Solidarity Not Charity: Our Evening with Dean Spade

Yesenia introduces guest presenter, Dean Spade.

written by Yesenia Regalado, IMPACT's Racial Equity Network Builder


At IMPACT, we are exploring bold ideas that spark radical imagination. Our journey to becoming a more democratic and (aspirationally) non-hierarchical organization has invited us to imagine possibilities outside of the status quo and traditional ways of operating. As we are examining our structures internally, we are also reflecting on structural alternatives for community transformation.

Can you imagine a new system in which:

  • We have a commitment to dignity and self-determination of people in need or crisis;

  • People’s basic survival needs are being met through a lens of solidarity;

  • We respond to crisis through building community, safety and well-being;

  • Political participation for change is based in care and action (not symbolic statements or gestures).

These are just some of the principles that were discussed in our webinar event “Solidarity Not Charity” with featured speaker Dean Spade. The focus of the event was how mutual aid can be a structural alternative to counteract the harmful effects of extractive systems that fuel the oppression in our communities.

There is a beautiful complexity in building the world we want to see, while also attending to the world as it is. Mutual aid is an action that can exist in both paradigms and open us up to creativity, humbleness, and radical care. The conversation with Dean calls us to challenge and dismantle harmful systems while also holding the reality that many of us participate in these systems.

By highlighting principles of mutual aid such as humility and willingness to accept feedback, conflict resolution skills, transparency, and consensus-based decision making, Dean offered some ways that we can push against traditional systems and also lay a foundation for something entirely new and outside of those systems. Dean also pushes us to examine our own ethics around care, how we engage with each other in solidarity not charity, and how we build support to sustain each other and our movements.

We hope to continue raising awareness and building spaces for this type of exploration.

If you'd like to contact Yesenia, you can reach her at

If you missed IMPACT's webinar featuring Dean Spade, here's the recording in English.

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