By Layal Rabat: For More Info, Go Here…
For the past 12 years or so, I’ve been involved in a variety of mutual aid projects that popped up to address community needs. To me, Mutual Aid is a direct exchanging of ideas, materials, and power. For this COVID19 Mutual Aid project, a large, dedicated team of volunteers have been organizing direct aid centering the most vulnerable community members. Prioritizing those who are sick, disabled, quarantined without pay, elderly, undocumented, queer, Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color, including anyone that’s been displaced.
I joined the efforts in the Phoenix Metro area specifically to learn more about what was happening on the ground, help curate resources, and find ways to connect people to information they need to make the best decisions for themselves. It’s not just one group that’s leading efforts. My community has a vast network of groups all stepping in. With one group, I helped create 1 minute PSAs encouraging people to stay home in several languages, featuring local community members. With another group, what began with my readings about safely consuming takeout as people sought to support local small businesses in the Asian Community, turned into this beautiful video my friend created for the Arizona Asian Chamber of Commerce.
When it comes to these efforts, they truly are from the ground up, it doesn’t matter if we’ve had the same education or read the same books about whatever ideology we believe we hold, mutual aid is about seeing a need and stepping up to help. From the amazing woman who has been leading school children in a herculean effort to sew as many masks as possible for first responders, to the notary public who went to someone’s home to sign their will, the community shows up and teaches us how to build a better, more equitable system. Mutual Aid is the future of nonprofits. Efforts led by community for community.