By Leo Amosah
I spend a lot of time engaging with the world virtually these days — especially on TikTok. In addition to viral dances and meme-ified sounds, my TikTok “For You Page” offers videos of creators dancing, making art, sharing their pains and joys, telling jokes, and engaging in political education and discussion. Although I’ve felt particularly isolated during this last year and a half, TikTok has helped me find community and confirm that I’m not the only one frustrated by capitalism.
In fact, much like some of my fellow TikTokers, I believe this current economic system isn’t sustainable.
It’s time to try something else.
As a queer, trans, Black, disabled person, I’ve been taught to fight for my right to exist in a system designed to hinder my survival. No matter how many different ways we name and describe oppression — whether it’s racism:
Ableism and eugenics:
Or violence against animals:
Naming doesn’t result in equitable access to resources.
How long do we expect people to continue working despite this global Panera Bread — just to make ends meet?
How many more people need to burn out from work or die from COVID-19, wildfires, climate change, or whatever else because of a discriminatory system?
How long can we continue to rely on performative activism? (I’m looking at you, nonprofits.)
What if we try what TikToker Isaias Hernandez suggests and root ourselves in “equity, justice, and accountability?”
As someone who is burnt out from working in nonprofits, I am tired of relying on them to support my needs or give me access to resources that could and should be free anyway.
Our current economic system discriminately limits access to resources. Is it useful to maintain an inherently harmful system?
How can nonprofits center the support needs of those they purportedly serve when they actively ignore their role in reinforcing and upholding capitalism?
If the “nonprofit industrial complex helps the rich maintain control of their wealth — and of our movements,” why do we rely on it for our communal survival?
TikTok got me feeling curious and excited about alternatives. I wanna try something new.
If you want to help your community, consider contributing to mutual aid efforts in your area.
We can implement temporary measures to support our immediate needs while building sustainable community-centered alternatives.
Many communities already have some alternatives in place such as:
- community gathering spaces for organizing and redistributing resources.
- community farm plots, gardens, kitchens, fridges, and pantries.
- mutual aid networks that help with immediate community needs, including food, water, and shelter.
Shout out to my Tiktok creators and community. Y’all kept me going through this panorama even though I almost gave up (multiple times). As we heal together from the trauma of this system, I hope we can continue imagining, building, and implementing alternatives so we can move beyond surviving and begin to thrive.
Leo Amosah (they/them) is a writer and a budding community doula based in Piscataway territories (Nacotchtank/Washington, DC). Leo offers full spectrum doula services, including pregnancy and abortion care (especially for their QATS: queer, autistic, trans siblings).
In addition to writing, Leo loves gardening and reading books by rad theorists. Most recently, they had the pleasure of completing Aph Ko’s Racism as Zoological Witchcraft: A Guide to Getting Out.
If you’re interested in contacting Leo for doula services (or anything else), please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Venmo: @Leo-Amosah, CashApp: $russkiboi