For a little over a year now, community members have been working together to organize monthly or bi-monthly events called Pull Over Prevention & Mutual Aid Fairs (POP). At the heart of these events is a DIY volunteer-run auto repair service that provides free repairs of broken brake lights, headlights, license plate lights and other minor automotive issues. POP also provides on-site consultation for other maintenance and repair concerns.
POP events take place in a variety of locations around Ypsilanti, and have also been organized in Jackson and Adrian. As the name suggests, the goal of these events is to prevent community members from being pulled over, a dangerous experience that could lead to deportation and death. These events are about protecting each other from the threat of police and immigration authorities and envisioning a better world.
And that’s where the mutual aid fair comes in. From the start, POP events have aimed to provide a one-stop location where community members can help each other connect to and access a variety of resources. Visitors have access to free donated COVID-19 safety supplies, educational materials about people’s rights when stopped by the police or immigration authorities and other resources like calendars of local food pantries, safe sex supplies, household cleaning kits, free pet supplies from Pet Pals Mutual Aid, as well as snacks from Peace House, Ypsi, and other supporters. Whenever possible, POP also tries to have food pantry boxes available on site, and as of August 2021, the events also include delicious free meals courtesy of the FedUp Ministries food truck. Other groups involved in organizing the events include the Huron Valley Democratic Socialists of America and the Mutual Aid Network of Ypsilanti. Recent events have been hosted alongside free COVID vaccine clinics with the Washtenaw County Health Department. Winter POPs collect and distribute free coats, boots and other cold wear gear. In the joyful spirit of community care, the events have also included a live DJ and the upcoming October POP will feature a line-up of local area musicians.
Additionally, POP provides free on-site child watch to ensure that caregiving responsibilities do not prevent anyone from participating in the event. The POP kid area has featured enrichment activities developed and donated by amazing local organizations such as the Kekere Freedom School and Black Men Read. Here, too, the events are aimed not just at bandaging over the harms of our current society, but co-creating a different social order — in this case, one where all children have access to resources that support their development.
“These cars represent not just individuals and cars, but families in our community that no longer have to worry about the frightening consequences that can occur because of a blown light bulb,” said community organizer Daniel Ignacio.
POP organizers believe that justice and antiracism must be practices that we enact in our everyday lives. The events seek to build strong, self-sufficient communities that provide each other with the material support often missing in a society that eagerly finances corporations but abandons its citizens. They see POP as part of a broader movement to combat intolerance and the nefarious impacts of racial capitalism in Washtenaw County and beyond. Because they believe in strong communities built on foundations of mutual solidarity, the community bonds that have developed at POP — including the eager commitment of volunteers, visitors (some of whom later volunteer), and supporters — are some of the most fulfilling outcomes of these events. If you’re interested in volunteering, POP always has a need for more mechanics and the mutual aid fair booths have a place for you no matter how much (or little) you know about cars. Volunteers can sign up at https://www.hvdsa.org/POP-SignUp.
POP invites all community members to come out to one of our upcoming events and to follow http://www.facebook.com/PullOverPrevention for information about future clinics. Interested individuals and organizations can also reach out to them about organizing a POP Clinic in their community. POP can be reached on Facebook or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, and donations can be made at https://tinyurl.com/DonatePOP.
Upcoming events will be held on the second Saturday of each month (locations vary, please see the event listing on Facebook or contact us).
October 9, Whitehead Memorial Church, 2069 Tyler Rd, Ypsilanti
In case of rain or bad weather, events will be moved to the following Saturday.
Volunteer Sign Up: