I came across references to Bryan Chong’s [’21] activism in the Hartford Courant‘s reporting on efforts to defend international students. Since then, News @ Wesleyan has profiled Bryan, and I wrote him to express my admiration for his activism. He wrote back telling me about another organization in which he is active, Middletown Mutual Aid Collective. Bryan explained that he and “other Wesleyan students have been collaborating with community members and institutions – like the North End Action Team, St. Vincent de Paul, etc. – to provide material services and fundraise for the most vulnerable people in Middletown at this time. We set up a Direct Cash Assistance Fund with the purpose of supporting the neediest without means testing and with no questions asked.”
I have to admit that I had questions about the “no questions asked” policy, certainly coming from my own experience of financial aid and means testing, United Way, etc. I had read about the different approaches of mutual aid societies (this is a handy example from the New Yorker), and I was impressed by the partner organizations working with the Middletown group. Kari and I made a donation, and I wanted to let lots of other people know about the good work that Middletown Mutual Aid is doing.
There are lots of ways to lend a hand to our neighbors in Middletown. If you want to learn more about this organization’s important work, you can do so here.