Organizers to USC students: “Do you know your community members?”

South LA food and housing insecurity figures reflect a dire need for conscious, compassionate mutual aid efforts.

Know your rights

If you are unable to pay rent because of COVID-19 financial hardship or being threatened with eviction, do not leave your home. Only a court order can order you to leave.

Under AB3088, landlords cannot evict tenants before February 1, 2021. AB3088 protects tenants from eviction due to loss of income or increased expenses as a result of the pandemic. AB3088 protects you from being evicted, but it does not cancel rent.

If you cannot pay rent, you must submit a formal declaration. You are still required to pay a minimum of 25% of the total rent owed by January 31, 2021.

For more information, visit StayHousedLA’s website.

Community Fridges

Los Angeles Community Fridges is an organization centered on providing food and resources to local communities through multiple independent refrigerators and pantries.

The mutual aid group operates 17 fridges located throughout Los Angeles, offering open resources for all members of the community. Anyone is free to take what they need from these fridges, all which are regularly maintained and cleaned.

For those who are looking to assist Los Angeles Community Fridges, being connected to the group is not a requirement for donating food. Items such as canned goods, bottled water, non perishable items, eggs, frozen meat and fresh produce are a part of the list of food items allowed in the fridges.

The organization asks that anyone planning on donating food to a fridge to also bring sanitation products to help the team in maintaining cleanliness in all community fridges. If you’re planning on donating food, you should refer to Los Angeles Community Fridges' guidelines to make sure you’re doing it in the most helpful manner.

Anyone interested in becoming more involved as a community member can join the Slack workspace created for the organization.

How can I help the communities around USC?

Before doing any form of mutual aid work, the first step is understanding the demographic and culture of the community you’re looking to help serve.

“One of the important things is engagement,” said Abigail Magallanes, a Los Angeles Community Fridges organizer. “Do you know your community members? Do you know the people who are coming to this fridge?”

Not all contributions need to be through donations or direct community service.

Even supporting local restaurants, especially those owned by people of color, is an effective way to enable a community to continue growing.

“Buy as small, Black or brown as possible,” Magallanes said. “That’s how you give back to these communities.”

With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting Black communities, it’s imperative USC students make a conscientious effort to not contribute to the spread of the virus. Following safety guidelines for the pandemic helps ensure our student body isn’t advancing coronavirus rates in neighborhoods surrounding USC’s campus, which largely consist of communities of color.

These resources were compiled by USC Annenberg Students for a community engagement project for Professor Amara Aguilar’s class Engaging Diverse Communities. The objective of this project is to spread mutual aid resources to the South Central community regarding food distribution and tenant rights.