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Kathleen Smith, a retired public health nurse has devoted her entire life to helping those in need. She has been a part of multiple clubs and organizations, including the Auntie Sewing Squad and Peaceweavers. These groups primarily focus on using their sewing abilities and knowledge to provide essential items for those in need, especially now during a global pandemic. Being a part of the Auntie Sewing Squad, Kathleen has been appointed the role of the “Caring Auntie” because of the amount of compassion and empathy based on her core values, that are shown in her daily work. She is a firm believer in the common good and recognizes her white privilege. She believes it is her duty to continue to use her privilege to help those around her, by recognizing and using it to speak up for those who can’t.
In this oral history, Anissa Santellano and Ally Morris spoke with Kathleen Smith, a member of the Auntie Sewing Squad (ASS) and a Los Angeleno. The Auntie Sewing Squad was formed by Kristina Wong in response to the lack of protective gear availability and focused on serving communities that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Smith discussed her occupation as a public health nurse and her participation in social movements including the Anti-War Movement of the 1960s/70s. Smith discussed her philosophy and how it influenced her motivation to join groups like Peaceweavers and ASS. She elaborated on the idea “think globally, act locally” and emphasized how that mantra influenced her work with ASS. As a member of the ASS, Smith discussed her role as a “Caring Auntie” through acts of service such as baking and other crafting activities. Smith also discussed how ASS connected her with younger generations and with people across the country.
Anissa Santellano; Ally Morris
Smith, Kathleen, "Interview with Kathleen Smith" (2020). Auntie Sewing Squad Interviews. 22.