Organizing during a pandemic and beyond
Disasters can simultaneously make community organizing more urgent and more difficult. Organizers must work to meet shifting and emerging needs in their communities in the midst of limited resources and added constraints. The resources below, many of which were created during and about COVID-19, offer recommendations and lessons learned that can strengthen community organizing efforts both in and out of disasters.
Racial Equity Tools (2020)
Library of online resources to help communities and activists understand and respond to the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, including tools for healing and community care, organizing and solidarity, resource building and rapid response, virtual work and online engagement, and more.
Irresistible (April 2020)
Podcast featuring chronically ill and disabled organizers who share insights about building adaptive, creative, and inclusive social movements. A list of resources mentioned in the episode is provided in the show notes.
Caring across distance: Some things to consider before movement gatherings during COVID-19 (English)
El cuidado a través de la distancia: Algunas cosas a considerar antes de las reuniones de movimientos sociales durante COVID-19 (Spanish)
Maryse Mitchell-Brody (2020)
Considerations when postponing or cancelling in-person events and recommendations for digital alternatives.
Acciones y movilizaciones por la justicia climática: Planifica ahora para adaptarte a posibles restricciones por coronavirus (Spanish)
Compiled by David Solnit (March 2021)
Recommendations for different organizing strategies - including mass public actions, socially distanced in-person actions, and virtual alternatives - according to different levels of public health risk.
Catalyst Project (2020)
Tools for staying engaged in racial justice work during a time of crisis, including self-assessment, meditation, and resources for action during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just Lead Washington (April 2020)
Priorities and strategies for organizing to advance equity and justice across four phases of the pandemic: crisis, mitigation, recovery, and durable systems change.
Mobilize (March 2020)
Seven practical examples of virtual organizing strategies used by mission-driven organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
MRSS (March 2020)
Ten digital strategies to complement or replace face-to-face organizing events.
Mutual aid networks have a long and rich history, particularly within communities that have been chronically underserved or unserved by mainstream institutions. When disasters strike, these networks gain more widespread support and provide a vital lifeline as community members mobilize their skills and resources to meet a broad range of needs. The values of collective care, the community relationships built and strengthened, and the overall impact of mutual aid extend far beyond the context of disasters.
Bloomberg CityLab (February 2021)
Nine examples from history of communities helping each other survive through mutual aid.
Rebel Sidney Black (March 2020)
A model individuals can use to identify people they can count on for support during a crisis, and the types of skills or resources they can provide. Based on the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective’s Pods and Pod Mapping Worksheet.
adapted from Frontline Praxis (2019)
Examples and encouragement for identifying personal skills that can be offered in mutual aid organizing.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief
Collection of resources on mutual aid for disaster relief, with topics including anti-oppression, apps and technology, disaster response, health and wellness, and COVID-19, among others.
List of concrete tools for starting and maintaining mutual aid projects to decrease harm and prepare for future disasters.
Collection of guides on how to start and build on sharing resources in communities, including housing, food, transportation, technology, work, education, and money.
Organizing for social justice and social change exposes activists and organizers to the trauma, pain, and grief of others. Both during and beyond disasters, this work can be emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, and physically challenging. Practicing ways to rest and heal, both individually and in community, can help to restore and sustain energy, engagement, and effectiveness in this work.
FeministSexEd (June 2020)
Practical strategies for activists to rest and maintain energy, connection, and motivation.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief (2020)
An overview of vicarious trauma for people engaged in solidarity-based disaster relief work and strategies for coping with, healing from, and supporting friends impacted by vicarious trauma.
Dori Midnight (2020)
Poem about self care, community care, ancestral ways, and social change.