Things are moving slowly. Some things feel like they’re not moving at all. However, despite the empty streets and closing businesses, people are coming together to support one another and sustain our community during the pandemic.
WKNC, as a community partner and participant, wants to use our platform to share some of these fundraisers and inform you about their creators to further their outreach. We appreciate and admire everyone doing the groundwork and heavy lifting that it takes to sustain a community, several industries and the emotional wellbeing of their beneficiaries.
First and foremost, is the Raleigh Music Venue Employee Fund. This fundraiser collectively supports Lincoln Theatre, Slim’s, Kings, the Wicked Witch and the Pour House. The campaign was created by Van Austin at Slim’s, Chris Malarkey at Lincoln, Paul Siler at Kings, and Adam Lindstaedt with the Pour House. The funds for this project are being collected through Venmo using the handle @Raleigh-Downtown-Music-Venues. Kings, via their Instagram page (@KingsRaleigh) described this fundraiser as “a fund to help out our employees during this time.” In the same post, they wrote they have received an “outpouring of offers to help [their] employees stay afloat during this crisis…” which we at WKNC are amazed to hear. Many of our current and former staff and students have gone on to work and be involved with at least one of these venues, and as an organization we work closely with them to promote, curate and attend events.
It is important to note that some of these venues are partner venues and co-owned by the same individual. For example, Timothy Lemuel runs the Wicked Witch, the Night Rider and Ruby Deluxe, but the latter two venues are not receiving funds from this campaign and have another process of their own to be discussed later on in this post.
Keep a lookout for more information on the Raleigh Venue Fund in an upcoming interview I’m working on with a few individuals involved in its creation. For now, you can see more information about the fund via the social media of each of the venues. The venues and their handles are listed below.
I should note here that Kings has also created a website through which community members can tip the bartenders virtually.
The next fundraiser is the Raleigh Queer Venue Initiative GoFundMe, which was organized by Janel Sheehan almost two weeks ago. As of this writing, they have surpassed half of their expected goal, thanks to the dedication and support of the Raleigh community. Pulling a quote from the GoFundMe description, “The Raleigh Queer Venue Initiative is made up of the sole queer music venues in Raleigh: Ruby Deluxe, Wicked Witch, and the Night Rider. Our purpose is to give LGBTQIA, as well as marginalized folx a safe space to dance, create, perform, and support one another.” The description goes on to express that these spaces are also locally owned and operated by queer individuals. Currently, as of a GoFundMe update posted on March 24, “[they] are looking at around 11K total a month to retain all of our spaces for Ruby Deluxe, Wicked Witch, and The Night Rider.” Of their $11,000 goal, the money raised will go towards paying rent on the venues and provide income to their staff members who can no longer work due to closures. The contributions from the Raleigh community are directly allowing for these safe spaces to remain open and in operation after the pandemic crisis alleviates.
The Venmo, if you choose to use that rather than GoFundMe, is @RubyDeluxe-TheWickedWitch.
We thank Janel, and all of the RQVI workers, for curating this GoFundMe and for creating safe spaces for the LGBTQIA community in Raleigh and the Triangle.
Next up is the Raleigh Tee. This fundraising campaign was created by Jonas Chisolm and his roommate Austin Chappell. The two of them started an online shop in which individuals could purchase a T-shirt and/or a sticker (in rainbow or black and white) through which all profits would go to the NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund and the Raleigh Music Venue Fund (mentioned above). For those interested in purchasing any of this project’s merch, doing so can be processed via Facebook.com/TheRaleighTee. The logo for the shirts and stickers was made by a close friend of the two founders, Nicholas Rossitch, and after some creative work on Photoshop, the idea for the Raleigh Tee was born.
The project debuted on social media (Instagram @theRaleighTee) two days ago (03/25/2020) and is quoted with having 200 orders in the first 8 hours. Jonas has commented that he and Austin only expected to sell 50 shirts initially and have been amazed at the community engagement, reposting and purchasing of the products in their startup.
Thank you to Jonas and Austin for your work and contributions to the workers of North Carolina and Raleigh specifically.
I’d also like to take a moment to give credit where credit is due. Yvonne Chazal (right, above) and Phian Tran (left) have compiled a very expansive Wake County Resources for COVID-19 document. The incredibly well-organized document covers topics like health resources (including mental health), food resources, housing and shelter, utilities details and more. Truly if I were to list out all of the categories they discuss, you’d be both in awe and shocked at the mass amounts of information that they have. The document’s creation was open to public collaboration and both creators actively reached out to their social media connections to make sure that they were collecting all the necessary details and subjects that constituents would be interested in. Please view this free resource during your free time. It will certainly make you feel better about our situation knowing what options are available.
Yvonne and Phian are both dearly loved and appreciated as local influences, musicians and WKNC alums. Thank you, Yvonne and Phian.
The aforementioned resources are only a small portion of the ongoing efforts to protect ourselves and our community. There will be more installments and updates to come. Once again, keep your eyes and ears out for an interview with representatives from the Raleigh Music Venue Employee Fund.
Want to help out but can’t donate? Call your representative (via 202-224-3121) and ask them to #SaveRestaurants.
Stay safe, stay inside, flatten the curve, promote solidarity. WKNC loves you and is grateful to everyone involved in these projects.
-Laura Mooney (DJ Beowvlf)