In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and fueled by hundreds of years of racial injustice, protests against police violence erupted around the country. We knew from our own personal experiences that despite a deep personal investment in racial justice, not everyone has the same access to protests due to a variety of safety, health, and accessibility concerns. People are eager to build activism into their everyday lives, but activism is not a one-size fits all experience for everyone.
We were witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement become one of the largest movements in U.S. history, with over half of its supporters having never participated in activist work before. We also knew that a movement of this size, despite having a large amount of supporters, desperately needs consistent funding, particularly at the local level.
So, we gathered clothes from our friends and neighbors and sold them on a front porch, raising $680 in one afternoon. We continued to run 15 more pop-up sales all around the Hudson Valley, raising over $15,000 in 2020 for organizations and activists all over the country working for racial & social justice.
After experiencing success with pop-up sales in 2020 and receiving overwhelming support from our community, we were encouraged to expand the Thrift 2 Fight movement. We applied for the Davis Projects for Peace grant with a proposal: in June 2021, our team would organize a “Thrift Tour” through the New York State to raise money for grassroots racial justice organizations.
In March ’21, The Davis Projects for Peace announced its winners for that year – and Thrift 2 Fight was on the list! With the support of the Davis Projects for Peace grant, we started planning our tour to 9 cities and towns in New York State, with the goal of raising money for local organizations working towards racial justice, climate activism, and prison abolition in each of the locations we would travel to.
Over three weekends, the four Thrift 2 Fight team members visited 9 NY cities, where they sold donated clothing to raise money for local racial justice organizations, 2SLGBTQIA+ initiatives, and disability rights advocates.
Our team was graciously hosted by the Albany Unitarian Universalist Church, Syracuse Center for Peace & Social Justice, OAR of Tompkins County, The Op Shop, ROOM, Academy Green Park, Beczak Center for Urban River, and 3 Dollar Bill.
The sales were possible with the help of 52 volunteers, serving 568 customers, giving a second life to 1303 items, diverting 813 lbs of clothing from landfills, and raising $12,840 in total. One hundred percent of the revenue from these sales was donated to these organizations.