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Auntie Sewing Squad 2: Supporting Communities On the Fringe Through Caring Ep 107

By Felicia Lin

A note from Talking Taiwan host Felicia Lin:

Kristina Wong and Valerie Soe are back to talk about the Auntie Sewing Squad. When they were last here (on episode 75) the Auntie Sewing Squad was about two months old with over 600 members. A lot has happened with the Auntie Sewing Squad since then.

As you listen to the episode, you might be wondering why is there a dog crying in the background as Kristina talks to us? And what major announcement is Valerie going to make about yet another off-shoot project? You might want to go back and listen to episode 75 first or at least read this description of the Auntie Sewing Squad from their website:

The Auntie Sewing Squad was founded on March 24, 2020 by performance artist and comedian Kristina Wong as a casual effort to connect with other friends sewing homemade masks for essential workers due to the Federal Government’s failure to prepare them with proper personal protective equipment.

Auntie Sewing Squad has been featured on CNN, NBC, KCRW, Washington Post, Good Morning America and many more. We Go Down Sewing, a cross between an anthology, memoir, and a visual record of the work of the Auntie Sewing Squad will be published in Fall 2021 by University of California Press. The Aunties also collaborated with the Kronos Quartet on the film “Radical Care: The Auntie Sewing Squad” which uses music by Kronos and testimony and footage provided by the Aunties. We are a college course at San Francisco State University. We also have hosted two rounds of an online summer mask sewing camp for kids. Our relationship with various First Nations has extended to include fundraising and sending them sewing and relief supplies. We have sent several vans filled with sewing and hygiene supplies to the Seamstresses United Navajo & Hopi Nation for distribution throughout both reservations.

 

Here’s a little preview of what we talked about in this podcast episode:

  • How the Auntie Sewing Squad has developed and changed since we last spoke
  • How Kristina’s role has changed
  • How masks, mask wearing and mask making have become a political statement
  • How the Auntie Sewing Squad’s work is about supporting communities forgotten by the federal government such as first nations, incarcerated communities, poor communities of color, migrants at the border
  • How sewing masks is a political statement for many of the aunties
  • The Auntie Sewing Squad’s Core Values
  • The Auntie Sewing Squad’s fiscal sponsor Art2Action which allows donations received by the Auntie Sewing Squad to be tax deductible
  • Historian Shakedown Auntie Rebecca Solnit
  • The Karl Marx quote that applies to the Auntie Sewing Squad
  • How Auntie Care started with an offering of hand salve
  • The Auntie Sewing Squad’s collaboration with the Kronos Quartet on the eight-minute short film, “Radical Care: The Auntie Sewing Squad”
  • The press that the Auntie Sewing Squad has received
  • Kristina’s Good Morning America appearance
  • The coat and clothing drives that the Auntie Sewing Squad has organized for Lakota Nation and the Navajo Nation
  • The book about the Auntie Sewing Squad, We Go Down Sewing
  • The full-length documentary film about the Auntie Sewing Squad that’s in the works
  • The crazy requests for masks that the Auntie Sewing Squad still receives
  • Monk robe fabric that was donated to make masks
  • How the Auntie Sewing Squad has become a sort of national network that supports various communities in need- from people affected by California wildfires to migrants in need of masks in Tijuana
  • How Kristina’s show and live tour “Kristina Wong for Public Office” became a Zoom and an online experience
  • The Auntie Sewing Squad’s Kid Sewing Summer Camp

Related Links:

The Auntie Sewing Squad’s website: http://auntiesewingsquad.com/

 

The Auntie Sewing Squad’s Core Values: http://auntiesewingsquad.com/about/#ourcorevalues

 

The Auntie Sewing Squad on Instagram: www.Instagram.com/AuntieSewing

 

Auntie Sewing Squad Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/2764362993676831/

 

Auntie Sewing Squad Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/auntiesewing

 

The Auntie Sewing Squad’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQrlwkZu_l6F1d9D_M5ZnGQ

 

Ways to donate to the Auntie Sewing Squad:

Tax-deductible donation link thanks to Art2Action who has waived the fiscal sponsor fees:  https://donorbox.org/auntie-sewing-squad

 

Kristina Wong PayPal General Donations using (Friends & Family):  k@kristinasherylwong.com

 

Kristina Wong Venmo General Donations HERE: “GiveKristinaWongMoney”

 

Kristina Wong with set pieces from her show “Kristina Wong for Public Office”

 

Kristina Wong’s website: http://kristinawong.com/

 

Kristina Wong’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ilovekristinawong/

 

Kristina Wong’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYVB9LCGQewhp4LxlachKPQ

 

Kristina and Valerie’s previous Talking Taiwan interview about the Auntie Sewing Squad: https://talkingtaiwan.com/auntie-sewing-squad-combats-covid-19-one-mask-at-a-time-ep-75/

 

Valerie with a screen shot of “Radical Care: The Auntie Sewing Squad”

 

Valerie Soe’s blog: https://beyondasiaphilia.com/

 

Valerie’s previous Talking Taiwan interview about her documentary film, Love Boat Taiwan: https://talkingtaiwan.com/love-boat-taiwan-interview-asian-american-studies-professor-film-maker-valerie-soe-ep-66/

 

 

We Go Down Sewing, a cross between an anthology, memoir, and a visual record of the work of the Auntie Sewing Squad will be published in Fall 2021 by University of California Press

 

The Tom’s model: https://bit.ly/3oPzNUJ

 

Art2Action’s website: http://www.art2action.org/

 

Art2Action’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/art2action/

 

Kronos Quartet musician wearing a mask made by the Auntie Sewing Squad

 

Kronos Quartet musicians wearing masks made by the Auntie Sewing Squad

 

 

The Kronos Quartet: https://kronosquartet.org/

 

Historian Shakedown Auntie Rebecca Solnit’s article for The Guardian, “The way we get through this is together: the rise of mutual aid under coronavirus,” which features a mention of the Auntie Sewing Squad: https://bit.ly/2LDuK8d

 

About the Host

Felicia Lin is the Host and Producer of Talking Taiwan, a podcast which seeks to introduce you to interesting stories connected to Taiwan and the diverse individuals who make up Taiwan’s global community.

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