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.
COVID-19: Racial equity and social justice resources
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.
Organizing in a pandemic: Disability justice wisdom
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.
Climate justice actions & mobilizations: Action planning for COVID safety (English)
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.
Collective tools for engagement and action in this time of crisis
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.
Equity, justice, & making meaning of COVID-19
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.
7 organizing strategies in a time of social distancing
Mobilize (March 2020)
Seven practical examples of virtual organizing strategies used by mission-driven organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coronavirus demands a quantum leap in organizing
MRSS (March 2020)
Ten digital strategies to complement or replace face-to-face organizing events.
Building and sustaining mutual aid
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.
‘Solidarity, not charity’: A visual history of mutual aid
Bloomberg CityLab (February 2021)
Nine examples from history of communities helping each other survive through mutual aid.
Pod mapping for 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.
You have skills: Evaluating what skills you can bring to radical organizing
adapted from Frontline Praxis (2019)
Examples and encouragement for identifying personal skills that can be offered in mutual aid organizing.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief Resources
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.
Mutual aid toolbox
Big Door Brigade
List of concrete tools for starting and maintaining mutual aid projects to decrease harm and prepare for future disasters.
Over 300 how to guides to help you share resources in your community
Collection of guides on how to start and build on sharing resources in communities, including housing, food, transportation, technology, work, education, and money.
Coping and healing as activists and organizers
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.
How to rest and recover while you fight for social change (English)
Como descansar y recuperarte mientras luchas por el cambio social (Spanish)
Como descansar e se recuperar enquanto luta por mudança social (Portuguese)
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.
Wash your hands
Dori Midnight (2020)
Poem about self care, community care, ancestral ways, and social change.