Hi! You may have seen me before. Or maybe you've seen my work. Perhaps you've seen me crowdfund before, via Go Fund Me or just sharing my PayPal info. You may have even contributed to one or two campaigns. Maybe we have mutual friends on Facebook or you follow me (or I follow you) on Twitter or Instagram. I don't know.
What I do know, from unbelievably intimate experience, is that the struggle is real. Like REALLY real. And the reason why so many of us have to resort to crowdfunding (to help pay bills, buy food, help pay for a venue so we can do a show, pay the cost of a contest or registration fee to get our work out there, etc.) is because, despite what even some of the most liberal people might believe or even say out loud, there aren't that many viable solutions to the problems of poverty, even in countries with various benefits programs, so we find ourselves at the edge of disaster again and again and again. That's not by accident, of course.
And so, that leaves me where I am today. I am a brown-skinned, Black, (proudly) fat, multiply disabled, bisexual, poor femme woman. I've been unemployed, in the traditional sense, for closing in on four years. There are a lot of reasons for that, most of them linked to a combo of systemic oppression/job discrimination and the fact that I'm limited in what I can do by my disabilities. I rely on supporters of my Patreon and freelance writing/editing and music/poetry/prose shows (and, hopefully, soon speaking engagements), but I don't make NEARLY enough to live on my own. Therefore, I live in subsidized housing, a.k.a. the projects, with my mom, an aging (60 year old) Black woman who works full-time in retail, and my furry children, a dog named Dog and a cat named Cat. My mom is the sole manager of a chain store that barely pays enough for us to pay the major bills, like rent, electricity, and the phone bill.
That has left us way behind on rent - about three months behind, to be precise. And if you know anything about anything, you know that you can only do that for so long. My mom went to court this past Monday (today is Wed., Sept. 13th) and they've given her a month to raise the $1,800 that is owed for back rent.
I'd like to raise at least double that, to give us a few months of cushion as my mom searches for a new job (I'm helping her with her resume) and as I solidify my freelance career as a (screen)writer, editor, singer-songwriter, poet, and speaker/workshop facilitator. It's one of very few employment choices when 82.5% of disabled people are unemployed in the U.S. and those that are employed are more likely to be self-employed, such as myself.
A little bit goes a long way - anything you can do would be of great help so we don't have to worry about losing our home!
- Alison O'Neill
- Alaina Leary
- Tanisha Howard
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