Help Aaminah Shakur Survive the Semester

For: Aaminah Shakur
Organizer: Aaminah Shakur
Help Aaminah Shakur Survive the Semester (Aaminah Shakur)
of $2,500 goal.
Raised by 17 donors
21% Complete

The Story


I'm updating this because my original ask was to help me survive the summer. You can see my original ask below. Right now I am concerned to make it through this semester. As a full time student, I need to focus on classes and I am limited in the hours I can work to make money. Due to disability, I am also limited in energy/time/etc. I continue to work in the gallery, where I average about 5 hours a week, and I also am able to get up to 5 hours a week (as in, not always that many - the week I'm writing this I got 1 hour) in a new position providing administrative support to the art history department. This is minimum wage however and doesn't go very far. I'm living on my student loans, so my rent is covered and I was able to pay three months forward on my phone bill and pay down my credit cards so that the monthly payments are lower than they were. My monthly costs are still about $700 a month beyond the rent. Because of chronic illness/disability, I need to be careful to eat properly, maintain vitamin and herbal supplement intake, etc. especially at this time of year. Any support that can help me to do this is greatly appreciated. I've recently updated my Statement of Purpose to reflect what I am trying to do and why my work matters. If you are not familiar, you may consider that as well. Thank you. 

Original ask and background details:

I am a QTPOC who is also disabled, with chronic illness, chronic pain, and mental illness. I am a full time student of art history, an artist, poet, culture critic, and freelance writer/editor. I received financial aid that has allowed me to continue attending classes in the summer months towards my degree. I work in the school gallery a few hours a week and the rest of my small income is from freelance gigs. Because of my disabilities I have to use Uber to get to and from school/the gallery - averaging about $60 a week just for that. Because of disability/illness/transportation costs I don't get to go out to art related events like I should, which also means I miss out on potential opportunities and clients. 

Summer courses are six weeks that cram an entire 15 week class into that shortened period. Right now I am attending one class two days a week for four hours each day, and I spend a lot of time on the homework. At the end of June I finish this class and begin to take TWO classes. That means from late June to mid-August I will be in classes four days a week for about 4 hours a day, and have homework/reading/writing to keep up with for the classes. My financial aid covered the classes and a little extra that pays rent through August, but I have other living expenses (transportation costs, food, phone bill, credit card bills from buying textbooks for fall and groceries/household needs, etc.) and will not have another financial aid disbursement until late September. 

I'm short the rent for September and struggling to keep up with the other bills. Once I start the second half of summer class sessions, I will have very little ability to maintain my freelance gigs for those six weeks and also have little availability when the gallery has hours. 

If you have the means to support a crip/sick QTPOC to survive this summer, it will give me the ability to do my best in classes (which means more scholarship possibilities in the future) without adding to my illnesses/pain. It will allow me to eat properly and keep my most basic bills paid. And it will be greatly appreciated.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on September 15, 2017

Posted on September 15, 2017

I am still two weeks away from receiving my financial aid overage. And mind you, that pretty much goes right back out the door paying off credit cards and paying rent forward. 

I know there are a lot of people in desperate need right now thanks to fires, hurricanes, and just life. I'm not trying at all to detract from that. Like everyone else, I too care and give to others in worse conditions than myself. We don't talk honestly enough about how many of us are living at extreme risk but still scrounge up a few dollars to pass on to those we see as more needing than our own selves. The poor, the sick, the struggling - they have always been the most generous to me when I was in need. We are whipping out our still-soggy-from-the-last-person $5 bill and passing it on as if we know where our next $5 will come from. We dig deep. We hurt. And we are without really basic things others take for granted. 

So I am challenging the people who are comfortable, the people who HAVE IT and know where their next meal is coming from or that their phone or rent is safe or who don't think twice about whether that Starbucks coffee is a reasonable expense (because many of us feel guilty for letting ourselves have a treat, even if that was in lieu of actual breakfast or a reward after accomplishing something or just the thing that gives us a bit of hope for the future). Give a little. Give a little to several people if you can.

I'm just trying to survive. Today and tomorrow I will spend about $40-45 to get to and from school/the gallery. I will spend as much or more than what I actually make in the gallery tomorrow, for example, just on the transportation. I will ask myself if it's reasonable to have a diet pepsi while in the gallery, if that is a "necessary" expense or me being extravagant. You can make it less of an extravagance. 

Thank you.

Posted on September 1, 2017

Posted on September 1, 2017

Hi all!

So, we are in September now and I am a week into the new semester of school. How are things with you? I know there's a lot going on for everyone at this time of year, and also that there are a lot of urgent asks from other people who are struggling, especially due to the floods in and around Houston Texas right now. Seeing so many other people in need makes it hard for me to ask for what I need, but I do still have needs that can't wait. My financial aid disbursement doesn't come through until the end of the month. Also, did you know my birthday is coming up? It's true, my 43rd birthday is September 11th, and I'm still in awe that I have made it this far.

Here's where I am in need while waiting for the financial aid:

  • I've paid the phone bill and am about to pay on one credit card in the morning.
  • I still need $100 to cover the other credit card payment.
  • I am spending $80-100 a week to get to and from school. This is part of disability, I have to use Lyft, and even though I am very close to school it costs $8 on average each trip. I have classes four days a week and as much as possible my gallery/assistance to the art history department is scheduled on those days but there is at least one day a week outside of there that I work. Art Prize is coming up and will likely mean that I am at school for classes or work 6-7 days a week also.
  • Obviously I still have to eat and such all month. 
  • Textbooks etc. are expensive, and I am also attending a bus trip to Chicago next Friday which is pertinent both to my degree and to class-specific needs (as well as my interests, obviously). 
In case you've missed it, here are links to my latest writings online.

Aug 2017 – Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian, Muskegon Museum of Art, H.A.C.K. Blog (review)

Aug 2017 – Some Practical Responses to Facebook List Making, Aaminah Shakur on Medium (essay/tutorial)

Aug 2017 – Practical Ways White Allies Can Influence Their Communities, Wear Your Voice Magazine (essay)

Jul 2017 – Black Femme Lesbian Identities in the Paintings & Photography of Mickalene Thomas, Rigorous (academic essay)

Thank you for your support and shares!

Posted on August 20, 2017

Posted on August 20, 2017

It's August 20 and I have somehow survived thus far, but I am still in grave need until my financial aid disbursement comes in late September. Here is what I need now:

- $500 for September rent
- $100 for one credit card bill that is due the first week of September
- $100 for the other credit card bill due at the middle of the month
- $ 70 for the phone bill due the first week of the month
- $ 80-100 for transportation costs every week
- Ability to still buy groceries and eat for the next month

For full updates on my current situation, including links to my latest online writing etc, you can also check out my latest Patreon post. If donating a larger amount here is too much for you, you can become a sustaining monthly patron over there for a smaller amount. I also accept Paypal, SquareCash (no fees come out this way), and FB payments (friends only).

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