On August 8th, our co-operative was given thirty days by the City of Asheville to stop hosting a free, weekly event in our community room. The event in question -- a mobile syringe access program -- is organized by The Steady Collective, a nonprofit with which we’ve worked since 2015. Newly legalized in North Carolina, syringe access is a form of evidence-based harm reduction endorsed by the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association.
Our bookstore, along with neighbors at Kairos West Community Center who received a similar violation for hosting a program that provides free meals, are now entangled in a regulatory proceeding calibrated to displace, marginalize, and asphyxiate life-saving resources. Ahead of us is a fight for the soul of the community and we’ve already found ourselves struggling to balance this fight with the work of running a bookstore. This struggle has a real, economic cost to us as a co-op and some members of our team are voluntarily deferring their pay to ease the impact, but we need community support in order to pursue an appeal and enter 2019 on a sustainable footing.
Today, on Overdose Awareness Day, we are launching a "Gentrification Resistance and Survival" crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with our friends from The Steady Collective.
Please consider making a one-time donation to Steady at GoFundMe.com and joining our Community Sustainers Program. This program exists to provide free space to organizations like Steady and cover the costs associated with unmonetized social movement work.