This month is filled with excitement and anxiety. Once again, temperatures are topping records. Once again, hurricane season is heating up. But we are getting ready; hot on the heels of our first innovative and inspiring “Building the Movement for Mutual Aid” Training Tour, the next round begins. Because it is always training season, always organizing season, always collaborative community building season.
Mutual Aid Disaster Relief trainers are responding to requests for workshops that will help communities around the Gulf of Mexico to prepare together. We have scheduled trainings in Gainesville (June 22-23), Orlando (July 20-21), Lafayette (July 21-22), and Houston (July 27-28), as well as meetings with friends and allies in New Orleans and at L’eau Est La Vie Camp blockading the Bayou Bridge Pipeline.
And some of us recently connected with friends from the other side of the Gulf too – two MADRelief trainers spent the weekend with Public Lab, an open-source citizen science and community technology organization that hosted, for the first time, a “Crisis Convening” that brought together dozens of organizers, educators, scientists, technologists, librarians, mental health professionals, permaculturists, and other locals in Newark, NJ.
There, we were pleased to see some of the incredible leaders of mutual aid in Puerto Rico. These MADRelief trainers had not yet visited Puerto Rico, but had heard so many inspiring stories about the Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo Mariana (where MADRelief helped to put in a photovoltaic system). An opportunity to meet and learn from members of this powerful project, along with a representative of the grassroots Maria Fund, was a moving experience.
We met many others with diverse experience in grassroots direct action disaster response, especially in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, and learned about brilliant ideas such as Social Emergency Resource Centers. All together, we discussed best practices to share with broader networks and we began to hatch plans for future Crisis Convenings and more trainings, drills, and practice to sharpen our skills and strengthen our connections.
Stay tuned for more updates – we will be rolling out our Fall Tour schedule soon! See our events calendar HERE, or on our facebook page. And we have an interactive CURRICULUM PACKET & TRAINING FACILITATION GUIDE in the works – we will publish a rough draft just as soon as we can, and then you can work with others in your community to begin training and preparing.