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About Us

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 personal protective equipment.  Originally intended as a three week stopgap, the Auntie Sewing Squad is still sewing and has since exploded into a network of hundreds of active Aunties across the United States who have shipped tens of thousands of masks to vulnerable communities across the North American continent. 

Our team of Aunties are college professors, costume designers, screenwriters, scientists, authors, actors, healthcare workers, retirees, teachers, students, award winning artists and filmmakers, labor organizers, graphic designers, lawyers and all over badasses. Our youngest Auntie is 8 while our eldest is 93.  We are juggling families, careers, and our own losses from Covid-19, in addition to this sewing labor.

While inexpensive factory made masks are now readily available on the market, the need for homemade masks continues indefinitely in vulnerable communities throughout the country.  Our Aunties have made strategic outreach into communities where Covid-19 outbreaks are considerably higher and are getting far less Federal support--First Nations, farmworkers, migrants seeking asylum, incarcerated communities, and poor communities of color.  What many of these communities have in common is that they have historically borne the brunt of structural racism and violence. We work with a vast network of community organizations to distribute the masks, including CASA, Alma Backyard Farms, South Texas Human Rights Center, and Lao Family Community Development.

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.

We credit our staying power as Aunties to our team of Care Aunties who support us with offerings of baked goods, cooked meals, Zoom yoga classes and more.  By recognizing that our labor has value via this community caring for our mental, physical and emotional health, we have been able to sustain our ability to continue this work so many months in.  We unabashedly acknowledge the political power of our sewing as a way to express our solidarity and support in the most impacted of communities when leadership has failed us. We proudly trace the lineage of this sewing to our mothers and grandmothers, immigrant and refugee communities in America, and underpaid women of color garment workers globally.

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