In addition to their work to make our neighborhood a more equitable place to live, North Brooklyn Mutual Aid (NBkMA) is doing their part to contribute to community safety. A new initiative, Neighbor Walks North Brooklyn, will pair up volunteers with neighbors who do not want to walk alone, due to safety concerns.
On March 11, a volunteer shared to the NBkMA Slack a cross-posting from Nextdoor: An Asian American woman living in North Brooklyn was looking for company to run local errands.
“Neighbors immediately sprung into action, connected with the neighbor and offered support,” explained Natalie Green, a coordinator with NBkMA. Due to the rising number of hate crimes against Asian Americans, allies were eager to help a neighbor in need feel safe.
This first action led to more NBkMA coordinators and volunteers chatting about what the group’s organized volunteer efforts could offer to increase pedestrian safety in the neighborhood. Five days later, following the mass shooting in Atlanta, NBkMA mobilized quickly. The group drafted copy for a quick graphic, sourcing multilingual volunteers to translate the post into Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
“We thought about how best to use our existing systems of hyperlocalized “pods” and volunteers to support, protect, and stand in solidarity with our Asian American and Pacific Islander neighbors,” Green said. “This effort was only possible thanks to our Asian American coordinators, neighbors, and friends who helped direct and focus these efforts, provided translations, and offered outreach support specifically to senior community members.”
The Neighbor Walks volunteers are from North Brooklyn Mutual Aid’s existing pool of active neighborhood volunteers. Each neighbor request for a walking companion will be processed through a dispatch team and paired with a nearby volunteer. Anyone who wants company on local walks is free to call 646-389-6019, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM @nbkmutualaid for a volunteer pairing.
Additionally, NBkMA hopes that all interested volunteers, and all neighbors, will join the group and the People’s School of Conflict for an anti-harassment knowledge share, with details forthcoming.