Sign language interpretation
Closed captioning

About the event

Watch the video recording of this event here:

Click here to join this Zoom event directly, starting at 6:30 PM (EDT).

The rise in hunger precipitated by the COVID 19 pandemic has exposed long standing problems in our food and welfare systems. Mutual aid projects across New York City have stepped in to respond to the crisis, revealing the deep commitment of neighbors to support one another. How might these projects help us build towards change in our city and more broadly?

When COVID-19 hit New York in March 2020, Sixth Street Community Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan quickly pivoted its programming to focus on emergency food distribution. Long committed to the struggle for food justice through projects that include a community supported agriculture program, Sixth Street faced new challenges as a provider of donated food.

Sixth Street Community Center’s Program Director, Jen Chantrtanapichate, joined together with anthropologist and filmmaker, Naomi Schiller; filmmaker and artist, Dan Fethke; and interpreter Chloe Lin, to make a short film documenting the Center’s efforts. Their ten-minute documentary On The Line explores the frustration of hours waiting in line for donated cheese, the pressure on the community to adapt to unfamiliar foods, and the power of mutual aid amidst the crises of hunger, health, and violence facing low-income Chinese and Chinese-American people. On the Line raises questions about how we can respond to immediate needs while also transforming the system that produced this crisis.

Join us Tuesday, June 8th at 6:30pm (EDT) for a conversation with Jen Chantrtanapichate, Dan Fethke, and Chloe Lin, who will be joined by Maggie Dickinson, author of Feeding the Crisis: Care and Abandonment in America's Food Safety Net, and Maria Muniz, a volunteer at Sixth Street Community Center, and moderated by Naomi Schiller. We’ll screen the film On the Line and discuss the broader terrain of food insecurity and justice.

Free and open to the public, but please REGISTER HERE for this event, Zoom link, and access to a pre-screener of the film, On the Line. You can donate directly to Sixth Street Community Center here.

Watch the trailer for On the Line:

This event will be in English and interpreted into Mandarin, Spanish and ASL with English closed captioning.

Photos of Sixth Street Community Center's emergency food distribution efforts and people waiting in line.

More About the Participants and their Work:

Jen Chantrtanapichate

Jen Chantrtanapichate is an artist, climate activist and community organizer from New York City. She received her Masters in Urban Planning from Hunter College. In 2012, she co-founded the Sixth Street Youth Program at Sixth Street Community Center, where she currently works as their Program Director. In 2015, she founded the grassroots community organization, CNB, which advocates for environmental justice, particularly in response to waste inequity in North Brooklyn. She serves on the board of the Fifth Street Farm Project and the Bushwick Food Cooperative. In her spare time, she fights for climate justice for IBPOC communities with coalitions like Frack Outta Brooklyn (FOBK) and works on campaigns that fall under the ethos of ecosocialism.

Maggie Dickinson

Maggie Dickinson is Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Guttman Community College, CUNY and the author of Feeding the Crisis: Care and Abandonment in America's Food Safety Net. Her research is concerned with the 21st Century welfare state, food policy, hunger, and inequality.

Daniel Fethke

Daniel Fethke is a filmmaker, artist, and activist from New York City. He works mainly as a freelance Director/Producer, having worked on 30+ feature films since abandoning med-school in 2013. He is currently Producing "On the Line," a short documentary that tells the story of growing lines, rising tensions, and the power of mutual aid at a community center in the Lower East Side of New York City. Outside of film, he can be found wearing many hats: cooking free meals for his neighbors, riding a tricycle around Brooklyn to distribute PPE, or writing science fiction stories about techno-politics. Daniel will be pursuing an MFA this Fall at the Pratt Institute, where he will be focusing on his multimedia practice.

Chloe Lin

Chloe Lin is an interpreter, translator, artist, and activist. Born in China and growing up in the Lower East Side, she saw people in her community being priced out of the neighborhood because of luxury developments. Chloe decided to take action and advocate for her community. She is an active member in multiple organizations and mutual aids, and a strong advocate on issues such as anti-displacement, workers’ rights, food security, and more.

Maria Muniz

Maria Muniz is a life-long resident of the Lower East Side and a volunteer at Sixth Street Community Center. Maria has been helping to distribute emergency food at SSSCC for more than a year.

Naomi Schiller

Moderator: Naomi Schiller is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brooklyn College and the Graduate Center, CUNY and 2020-2022 Faculty Lead of “On the Line: Land Use, Food Access, Climate Justice and Organizing in New York City” project as part of the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY. Naomi’s research and teaching focus on urban politics, climate justice, visual and media anthropology, and the state. She is author of Channeling the State: Community Media and Popular Politics in Venezuela. Naomi is active in union organizing and anti-gentrification struggles.

This event is co-sponsored by the Sixth Street Community Center and “On the Line: Land Use, Food Access, Climate Justice and Organizing in New York City” project as part of the Seminar on Public Engagement and Collaborative Research from the Center for the Humanities at The Graduate Center, CUNY.



Organizer and Moderator


Image: Film still from On the Line. Carts lined up against a colorful graffiti wall along the sidewalk in the Lower East Side; a bicycle blurs by in the foreground.