consuming fiber by any means necessary

Why I don’t support Double Union or the Ada Initiative


It was beautiful weather just like today, and I was driving down Mission Street in Liz Henry’s car, the ceiling covered with feminist badges. Blue skies, I’d just had a great doctor’s appointment, a nice lunch at Rainbow Co-op, and I was headed to our brand-new feminist hackerspace to fix the broken screen on an old netbook and install Ubuntu on it. All was right with the world.

Until I walked in and found my multi-thousand dollar donation bagged up and piled against the wall to go to landfill. This included: Garment-length cuts of fabric bought at retail in Manhattan, wools, silks, cotton. Fleeces from prize-winning flocks, hand-selected at sheep and wool festivals. Most of the books I had donated. Most of the yarn I had donated. The latter two, although I had been the nominal “Librarian” and “Yarn Curator”.

I’d spent hours the day before sorting through it all. It had been in a storage unit for awhile, and I needed to get it all out of the boxes and bags it had been in. I made excellent progress and had nearly finished. I talked a little about the donation at the meeting that evening, which was attended by eight early members of Double Union. After the meeting, Valerie Aurora and Amelia Greenhall stayed behind and bagged up 90% of what I had donated and piled it against the wall. There was trash piled against the wall, too, construction debris and IKEA packaging. This is what I walked into when I showed up that afternoon a year ago.

When I walked in, I was stunned. At first I thought I had misunderstood, because why would they be throwing away what I had donated? I wrote to the list quickly, asking if the stuff against the wall was intended for landfill. I got a response back quickly, saying that yes it was, but if there was anything I wanted out of it, I had until Sunday to take it out. So generous!

At that point, I began to cry and hyperventilate. I looked around the room some more. The decor items I had brought into the space were in the free/donation box, under the entry table. These were afghans my dead mother had crocheted, and which everyone to that point had admired aloud to me, saying they made the space seem homier. I had last seen them on the couch in the corner.

I took home everything I was able to carry, crying as I did so. There’s more to the story — emails, how I got (almost all) of my stuff back. But I walked out of Double Union that afternoon, and I’ve never been back. That day launched an eight-month-long suicidal episode, and a depression which only lifted in July. Although members of Double Union had every reason to know that I was in dire straits (they knew I am physically disabled; they knew I have PTSD), they did absolutely nothing to follow up with me.

This is why I do not support Double Union. This is why I do not support the Ada Initiative. This is why I suggest that you do not support either Double Union or the Ada Initiative.

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