Seeds Worth Sowing, a nonprofit committed to the economic support of Black and Brown caregivers, has temporarily closed its office space after a racial slur was written on the window.
On Saturday, June 3, founder Zede Harut says she got a call from a colleague who had planned to facilitate a training to teach Black and brown queer folks how to become a birth worker when her colleague had arrived at a surprise once arriving at the office.
“As they are walking into the building, on the outside window, it's ‘effing ni**er’ right on the window.”
Seeds Worth Sowing grew from small mutual aid efforts to support the community in response to the uprising following the murder of George Floyd, and amidst the pandemic. Harut noticed how Black and brown caregivers were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. At the time, basic necessities were running out rapidly and, as a result, prices began to rise. Harut mobilized the distribution of basic needs and wellness resources to local caregivers. Harut now continues her work as an official non-profit. But after the organization recently experienced a bout of racial harassment, Harut realized that not everyone shares the values of her organization.
“We have gotten commentary and remarks for a while with people saying that our work is a problem, and our work is not necessary because people just need to get up and work. They don't need these services… We get that all the time,” she said.
Harut says her clients consist of families, individuals, and children who are vulnerable and rely on the organization’s trust and support. Luckily, Harut and her clients agreed to meet virtually the day the space was vandalized.
“They're exploited. They're underserved. They’ve experienced domestic violence… Had we went to the office that day, I would have felt so unsafe, and I would feel like my mommies and my families that are a part of that program were unsafe,” said Harut.
Harut says she feels that Minnesota is not a safe space for Black or brown people. As a result, she has made the formal decision to pause the use of the office until they are able to invest in 24 hour surveillance.
“As progressive of political leaders that we have in office, and all these little policies and laws that are being changed, the culture is still very much violently racist and unsafe,” said Harut. “And someone like me that has good intentions for supporting underserved, underrepresented and exploited families, those who don't feel safe enough to go to government bodies for support, or other foundations… Like we've created an alternative space of safety and of care. And folks are threatening that. You assume that in certain areas that have predominantly white spaces–that have Black Lives Matter signs and you are welcome here signs, that you would feel safe. And that's obviously not the case. It was just so disheartening and disappointing.”
The organization is now accepting donations for security equipment.