NSHC Letter to communities: update and resource redistribution
Dear communities and beloved comrades,
North Star Health Collective is a Twin Cities based radical healthcare group that, among other things, trains and dispatches street medics during protests and demonstrations. Founded in 2008, we’ve focused for the past 13 years on providing care in the streets to support people protesting, taking action, and building a better world for all of us. In times of uprising and rebellion, we believe it’s especially critical to share our experiences with others and to continue to build relationships.
When the uprisings began in response to the murder of George Floyd we did what we have done in the past: dispatched volunteer street medics to support people in the streets. We started running a 24/7 dispatch program with support from around the country and began a vetting process to bring in only current medical professionals with higher training.
We have been guided by training passed down directly from the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s and we are only one of the groups doing medic work on the streets in the Twin Cities. We firmly believe in non-hierarchical and accountability-based community organizing. We have no paid staff; every North Star medic is a volunteer and is protected under the Good Samaritan Law, and we don’t have, and have never had, 501(c)3, LLC, or similar status. Our small group of 5-7 core collective members, all trained street medics, have other full-time jobs or are full-time students. As a collective with significant white privilege, we are committed to amplifying and supporting the work that already exists in BIPOC communities, and learning new ways to dismantle white supremacy as an ongoing process.
When we received an uptick in donations last spring we were not set up to handle the sudden volume of support. We quickly began directing people to donate to other organizations, including BIPOC-led groups around the Twin Cities, and took down our donation button. We used a small amount of this money to buy supplies to restock medics last summer.
At the peak, North Star had $1.46 million in our Paypal account. Donors gave with the intention of supporting radical healthcare. We asked Voices for Racial Justice to be our fiscal sponsor and are now working with them to redistribute most of these funds.
We are redistributing 80% of these funds, the 20% remainder covering fiscal sponsor fees, restocking supplies before securing a fiscal sponsor, and five years of North Star’s operating expenses and legal support. This funding will go to support existing and emerging BIPOC medics, healers, and health practitioners, and to BIPOC street medics and street medic collectives. Some of this money will also go to organizations that support healing for victims of police violence and their families who received little or none of the donation money that flooded into the Twin Cities last year. We’ve been seeking guidance from individuals and organizations in BIPOC communities, and are creating a plan which we will share publicly to redistribute these funds as quickly and responsibly as possible.
We believe in a future where everyone has access to radical healing care provided by people they connect with, relate to, and with whom they build community. As medics, we believe in moving intentionally and thoughtfully: slow is smooth and smooth is fast. We believe the work of building community is long haul work, and relationship building is at the center.
Sincerely and in solidarity,
Kat, Mags, Noah, Alli and Ariel, core members
North Star Health Collective