Disaster Elitism vs. Communal Solidarity

Navigating forth, there are many communities that are still in utter shambles from the hurricane.   And while FEMA guards structures of wealth, autonomous mobilizations have been getting supplies into the hands of those who truly need them sans the red tape/applications/and bureaucratic procedures that barricade skin to skin cooperation and participatory relief and rebuilding … Continue reading Disaster Elitism vs. Communal Solidarity

Autonomy in Tampa – Solidarity in Immokalee: A Love Letter to the Future

The Mutual Aid Disaster Relief convergence center in Tampa is growing by the hour. The first aid station has grown into a wellness center, including acupuncture, trauma counseling, peer support, herbal medics, and other alternative medicine modalities. Local community members know to drop off hurricane supplies that they didn’t need. Community members also know to come here if supplies are needed. And that these supplies can be received with dignity. Here, there are no powerful givers of aid and powerless receivers of aid. We are undermining that dynamic in a process that contributes to the liberation and consciousness-raising of everybody involved. Mobile distros base out of the space, channel their inner Robin Hood, and reach across Florida with supplies, especially to historically marginalized communities. We have funneled over 10 tons of food, water, diapers, and other supplies to hard-hit Immokalee, FL. a migrant farmworker town...

Harvey, Irma, and Power from Below

We know starting somewhere with disasters of this magnitude can be overwhelming, so we want to remind you that resilience isn't found in what we can purchase, but in what we can share - in the relationships of support that connect us with each other. Reach out to your neighbors. Invite someone to stay at your home if you live in a safer area. Invite someone without access to transportation to evacuate with you if you choose to evacuate. Give rides to shelters for people who are experiencing homelessness or a physical disability. Prepare to engage in rescue efforts, send in supplies, or volunteer in other ways if it becomes needed. Act without waiting for permission...

Harvey: echoes of the past and future

Howling in my ears like a hurricane wind are the echoes of another historic storm season. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina ruptured the levees of New Orleans and killed more than 1200 throughout the region, and Mumbai was drowned by 37 inches of rain in only 24 hours, killing more than 1000 in the city alone. When history repeats itself, it is telling us that we have failed to learn our lesson. I am bursting with feelings from that historic 2005 hurricane season, when I feared for old friends in India and wept with new friends in New Orleans – I spent over a year in NOLA, working with the incredible Common Ground Collective. It was a transformative experience for me, I learned much during that time. And now I am hearing many echoes… may we all listen, and learn...

Solidarity and Cracks in History

At Standing Rock, it was commonplace to overhear people talking about prophecies culminating in the present moment. We were reminded of this Hopi prophecy that we continue to reflect on: "You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour, now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour. And there are things to be considered . . . Where are you living? What are you doing? What are your relationships? Are you in right relation? Where is your water? Know your garden. It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other. And do not look outside yourself for the leader." ...

Coming Together to Survive Climate Catastrophe

Although some people have lost everything in the U.S. southeast, this pales in comparison to the effects of Hurricane Matthew on the people of Haiti. Already over 1,000 people in Haiti have been killed by the Category 4 storm, making it the deadliest Atlantic Hurricane in over a decade. Our hearts are with everyone who lost loved ones, especially those in Haiti who are continuing to bear the brunt of climate change induced extreme weather caused by the industrialized, developed, fossil-fuel addicted nations like the U.S. If you are able, in lieu of sending Mutual Aid Disaster Relief monetary donations at this time, consider supporting one of these Haitian-led development-oriented organizations that are responding to Hurricane Matthew: ...

Towards a Conscious, Collective Aid Response

The summer of 2016 has shown that the effects of climate change are not distant fears, but current realities. However, instead of changing course, those in power are stepping up efforts to exacerbate the climate chaos. But from the no new lease on the gulf movement to the Camp of the Sacred Stones, people are resisting these threats to our survival. The historic flooding in Louisiana is being called the worst disaster since Hurricane Sandy hit New York. Tens of thousands of homes have been affected and over a hundred thousand people have applied for disaster assistance. Over the weekend in Baton Rouge, 40 of our volunteers engaged in gutting five homes affected by historic and deadly floods. We were able to assist homeowners in gutting several more homes today...

MAD Relief Baton Rouge Flood Response

When historic flood waters overtook Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Mutual Aid Disaster Relief contacted the affected communities on the ground and within hours were setting up a communal space for volunteers to gather, putting a call out to amplify the requests of those fighting to save their homes, items wish lists were mass-circulated and volunteers on the ground began assembling crews and affinity groups to respond alongside Baton Rouge residents for gutting, mucking and cleanup efforts. ...

A horizontal, multidimensional and multidirectional process

As natural disasters increase in intensity and frequency, we recognize that our hope for a livable future rests in developing resilient preparation for and response to crisis as individuals and communities, while simultaneously opposing intensive resource extraction and other root causes of climate change. We are engaged in a horizontal, multidimensional and multidirectional process that contributes to the liberation of everyone involved, not charitable acts. This means we share resources, skills, experience, knowledge and ideas without perpetuating relationships based on hierarchical power.