BOISE, Idaho — The pandemic has taken a toll on many people as it continues to surge across the country, affecting health, socioeconomic status, access to healthcare.
The Black Liberation Collective of Idaho wants to give back to the Black community to help those who they say are already a marginalized group in the Gem State.
According to the latest census report, 0.9% of Idaho’s population is Black or African American.
“We've had a black community no matter how small in Idaho for a very long time and we are a very underserved community because we are small and a very marginalized group," Black Liberation Collective of Idaho founder Alyssa Wainaina said.
The Black Liberation Collective of Idaho is a group trying to empower the Black community through direct action and collaborative effort. They say their goal is to provide free, open, and safe spaces for all Black people. To help do that, the collective launched Idaho’s Black Mutual Aid Fund to provide financial assistance to Black families in need.
"Our biggest goal is to give Black people money with no strings attached,” said Wainaina.
The fund launched in 2020 and has since distributed $70,000 to the community. The fund accepts applications every month. At this time, Wainaina says the funds can help give out up to $300 per family.
“We've seen a lot of attention when it comes to the mutual aid applications. We've most recently ran out of funding in four minutes,” said Wainaina.
Anyone from the Black community can apply at the start of the month on their website. There are no qualifications to apply for this help.
The funds are raised through grants from the Social Justice Fund Northwest, the Pride Foundation, and community donations.
Alyssa says more support from non-Black communities is needed to help meet the demand.
"As we continue to expand the work we are doing, we'd love to get more support from white folks and nonblack folks monthly. Like a $10 or $50 donation so that we can have consistent support and not just when there is something like extreme violence that happens towards Black people in our community,” said Wainaina.
So far Wainaina says they have been able to distribute $13,525 since the launch in 2020. Thousands more were given before the mutual aid structure was created.
Wainaina says they hope to be able to accept more applications soon, so they can provide more assistance on a monthly basis.
You can donate via Vemno, CashApp, and PayPal.
Watch more Local News:
See the latest news from around the Treasure Valley and the Gem State in our YouTube playlist: