The Impact of The Zachary Project

“Being able to access the Zachary fund allowed me to pay my rent, which then allowed me to go through with a plan to seek more comprehensive mental health care. I literally could not have gone forward with these things without the fund. I have been struggling with my mental health and my lack of resources to really address it for the past 2 years and getting access to the Zachary fund helped me to take the break I need, regroup and seek therapy. It’s an ongoing process and I would not have started it without this.”

“I was able to buy a sleeping bag and bedding [upon release from prison].”

Dear friends and supporters,

We write to you as summer begins, following winter months that often try our spirits, our mental resilience and our collective will to brave the challenges that this world and our society demand. However, we also know that we must intentionally nurture the fortitude it requires to endure, to survive and to thrive. Our communities are the greatest source of this replenishment, often shining through these contradictions.

The Zachary Project, a mutual aid resource of Critical Resistance (CR) Oakland chapter, is our offering in these times—a testament to community resilience in the face of hardship; and a resource we offer to sustain our people through hard seasons. Named after a dedicated CR Oakland and Abolitionist newspaper editorial team member Zachary Ontiveros, The Zachary Project is a mutual aid fund that people can request money from in times of crisis and to prevent mental health deterioration. Fueled by monetary contributions by people like you (organizers, friends, loved ones and community), we respond to requests from CR members and friends of CR Oakland and are able to distribute funds of up to $500 to community in need.

2018 was the most utilized year of the Zachary Project, truly demonstrating that this resource is vital and growing. We distributed a total of $2,420 in funds to 5 people (in comparison to $1,400 to 3 people in 2017; $1,970 to 4 people in 2016, and $200 to 1 person in 2015). The funds supported five people who are strongly connected to CR, including 2 formerly imprisoned people who were released in 2018 (and are volunteers and readers of The Abolitionist newspaper); 1 member, 1 regular volunteer, and 1 community friend of a 2017 recipient. The funds supported people in mental health crises, to help with housing and reentry support after prison, and recovery with time off work.

Patricia Salazar and her children, Zachary’s aunt and cousins, founded the fund in 2015 following Zachary’s untimely death. Since 2015, you have helped us raise $6,400. There is currently $3,139 in the fund as we start 2019. This month, we hope to raise $2,500 to renew the fund and support our community this year. Can you make a gift as an act of everyday abolition? (Follow link and choose “Zachary Project” under “Select a designation.”)

With the support of The Zachary Project, members of our community have been able to access mental health resources in critically urgent times, have support for housing and healthcare post-eviction, get neccessary supplies once returning home from prison, leave a violent relationship and housing situation, and meet pressing immigration deadlines. For people receiving the funds and their loved ones supporting them, we’ve heard overwhelming relief, hope and appreciation. 

Following Zachary’s birthday on January 26th, every year we ask our community to join us putting abolition into practice in the most basic, day to day ways through mutual aid and preventative care. Please make a donation at whatever level you are able (instructions below): $10, $20, $50, $500 or more. Inspired? Share this communication with friends, loved ones and networks and invite them to join you and learn about this abolitionist mutual aid project.

In Zachary’s honor, we look forward to a year filled with hope, laughter, struggle, and resistance. 

Onward, together. ¡ Zachary, Presente!

Jess Heaney, Development Director
on behalf of Critical Resistance Oakland chapter

“The death of our son and brother, Zachary, seems to grip us all a bit more strongly this time of year. We remember him and miss him even more deeply during January, the month of both his birth and his death. The loss reminds us that life can be so hard, yet is filled with the beauty of love and friendship. And grief’s gaping emptiness is filled with a new tenacity that leads each of us to live Zachary’s legacy of making the world a gentler, better place. We are appreciative of the vehicle the Zachary Project provides for touching the lives of our neighbors in need.”  – The Family of Zachary Ontiveros, January 2019

Make a gift to the Zachary Project:
You can donate to The Zachary Project HERE.  Under Program Designation, make sure to select “The Zachary Project.”

You may also send a check (payable to Critical Resistance) to
The Zachary Project, c/o Critical Resistance
1904 Franklin St, Ste 504
Oakland, CA 94612