Mutual Aid. I live in a working class neighborhood in Tucson. I started thinking about a possible future lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic- what would happen if parents were unable to work, if elderly folks and sick folks were homebound. How would people eat and get the supplies they needed. I thought- what if I organized with some of my neighbors and, in the coming weeks, delivered food and supplies to people who were in need. How large of an area would we reasonably be able to manage? Probably pretty small. My neighborhood, Keeling, is .6 square miles. According to the internet, several thousand people live here.
I convinced some neighbors to join me in this endeavor and created a signal group for us. I made a flier. On the flier I put a google voice number that I linked to my phone. A friend helped translate the flier into Spanish. I created a google doc form to send to the people who contact me. I went to the store and bought some non-perishables to start with.
I set up a gofundme to pay for future supplies. I printed 600 copies of the flier. In the last two days we’ve handed out 500 of them, and only covered a part of the neighborhood.
While flyering, we met several more neighbors who want to get involved. Today I took out our first five food deliveries.
From everything I’ve read, a lockdown is the only way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and prevent it from overwhelming our medical systems. So if we want to avoid many thousands of extra preventable deaths due to people being unable to access treatment, we’ll have to do a lockdown. And if we do a lockdown, folks are going to need help.
Small neighborhood networks create decentralized mutual aid that is efficient and manageable. We all live in a lot of different neighborhoods. Between us, there is a lot of organizing that we can do. I’m using my online platform to raise funds, but you don’t need an online platform to fundraise, especially if you’re white- white folks have access to more familial and community wealth than anyone. Tap your networks. Put the word out.
Similar mutual aid efforts are happening in other parts of the country- I copied what these folks are doing and you can too. Here are links to some of those efforts: