Mutual Aid U.S.A.
Why We Exist
Every life has been touched by the pandemic in some way. The list of hardships faced is extensive and unique to each of us.
Many inequalities – access to healthcare and safe, stable housing; healthcare outcomes; economic disparity; education quality; etc. – that existed long before our current crisis are now even more stark due to the hardships of Covid-19. To compound these inequalities, few programs exist to support people. In response, community members have recognized there are some who are more vulnerable to the current crisis. These volunteers began supporting strangers through communal engagement, errand running, and outreach by inquiring what people needed through online forms and groups. We became each other’s advocates with the goal of “solidarity, not charity.”
Mutual aid efforts existed before Covid-19. We are indebted to the generations before us that survived on the framework of communal collaboration. (For more background on mutual aid visit Dean Spade’s Big Door Brigade.) Recent efforts have also emerged during catastrophes like Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, the crisis in Flint, etc.
In early March 2020, two medical students sought to support local groups through connecting volunteers, sharing resources, and finding ways to sustain efforts. Both had already devoted their lives to dismantling health disparities and institutional narratives that perpetuated inequalities. For example, attributing genetics as the reason Black Americans have higher rates of asthma, whereas the cause is not genetic but a history of housing and job inequalities resulting in this population living in areas with worse air quality that predisposes to asthma. As with other disparities, incorrect narratives also arose during Covid-19 blaming those most vulnerable while ignoring the systemic causes. Thus, Covid Mutual Aid USA was formed by these students with the aim to support those most vulnerable through communal collaboration and with the focus on health equity.
Who We Are
We believe in and support community mutual aid collectives. Our support takes the following forms:
- Raising Awareness | helping people find their local group through the mutual aid map.
- Creating Shared Spaces | listening to and connecting with those engaged in, interested in, and supporting mutual aid.
- Highlighting Stories | highlighting the efforts and success of those groups. Engaging with your words, and your perspective. A space to tackle misconceptions,
- Sharing Knowledge | sharing mutual aid toolkits/best practices to facilitate the maintenance and initiation of the backbones of your local collectives.
- Collaborating | connecting with mutual aid groups and networks to align efforts and scale impact.