[W]hen Abbot announced his plans in April, a core group of about 20 D.C. activists set to work creating an emergency aid operation. For nearly two months now, the small group of volunteers has been stretched to the limit: They meet buses arriving at Union Station at all hours of the morning and night; they provide medical care and organize transportation for people leaving the city; and they feed, clothe, and even shelter people in their own homes.
The organizers are all rooted in D.C.’s mutual aid network, which has existed for years but took on a new reach in 2020 amid a raging pandemic and social justice protests that followed the murder of George Floyd.
“This is a new way of coming together and doing mutual aid,” says Fariha Huriya, a core organizer who works with the DC Incarcerated Workers’ Organizing Committee and is the co-founder of the DC Free Store. “The community, again, responding where the government fails.”