Madison Community Fridges project combines fresh food and mutual aid

Starting with one fridge on East Johnson Street, the project is expanding its network.

Madison’s newest hot spot for fresh foods is also a hub for mutual aid. 

Since late July, a fledgling grassroots group called Madison Community Fridges has been stocking a refrigerator on the lawn at 1005 East Johnson St., near the intersection with Brearly Street. Some of the residents at the address who work at Troy Farm fill the fridge with leftover produce. A small pantry for perishable goods also sits next to the fridge. Madison Community Fridges invites neighbors to add food and community members to help themselves. “Take what you need, leave what you can,” is their motto. Read more at Tone Madison.

The second Black Arts Matter Festival adapts and centers queer artists

Poetry and music combine in this year’s live-streamed event.

This year, with the arts at a near standstill as venues remain closed and artists are unable to tour due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, Irvin re-thought the Black Arts Matter Festival’s mission and presentation. 

“My goal was to safely present artists and to support artists. Believing ‘Black arts matter’ means paying Black artists,” Irvin says. “My goal this year was to definitely give a platform for them. It’s an opportunity to feel community from wherever you are.” Read more at Tone Madison.

Reparations Thrift asks white Madisonians to pay it back in style

The mutual-aid organization makes a case for fashion-based reparations.

Reparations Thrift purposefully connects fashion with reparations. Cultural appropriation is rampant, particularly on Instagram, says Thrift co-head Venus Han. Personalities like the Kardashians get likes—and accumulate social capital—by cherry-picking aspects of style from Black and brown cultures. Read more at Tone Madison.

Willy Street’s giige brings healing tattooing practices to the forefront

The new collective creates a space where queer and Indigenous people can reclaim their bodies.

giige (pronounced “ghee-GHEH”) means “heals up” in Anishinaabemowin, the language of many of Wisconsin’s Indigenous tribes. Healing is the foundation of giige’s mission. The collective’s trauma- and gender-informed tattooing practice is steeped in the act of body reclamation. Read more at Tone Madison.

Relief at last for patients with the ‘worst pain in modern medicine’

Retiring UW Health surgeon Dr. Hans W. Sollinger pioneered an operation

Two years ago, Kristin Meurrens’ life was nearly over because she was considering ending it. At 37, the mother of two was in constant debilitating pain that no doctor had been able to effectively understand and treat.

She likens the bladder pain to being both electrocuted and passing kidney stones. Countless CAT scans came back negative. Seeking relief, Meurrens was admitted to the hospital every two weeks or so. Opioids took the edge off, though doctors became suspicious.

“They treated me like a drug seeker and it was just a terrible situation to have doctors not believe that you were in any sort of pain,” she says. “I was very suicidal at the time. The pain medication had taken its toll not only on my body, but also my mind. I wasn’t really living any sort of life. I was lying in my bed 24 hours a day.” Read more at Madison Magazine