What does solidarity look like in times of coronavirus?
Whether you are adjusting to a new reality of sheltering in place, struck by major economic shifts, or have impacted loved ones –– one sure thing is that you are not alone. Millions of us around the world are feeling heightened stress and anxiety. While this moment may feel tense, it is important for us to not panic.
Take a deep breath right now, and let us reframe this picture.
This is an extraordinary moment. We are reshaping our very understanding of what it means to be interdependent. This new reality has forced us to reconsider the impact we have on each other, as well as the responsibility we have to each other. It has lifted the veil on many inequities that have existed for far too long, as well as the lack of social support necessary to ensure wellbeing for all. This moment also brings us together in creative ways and reminds us that nothing and no one can be taken for granted.
This is an opportunity to heed what is most important in our lives. It’s an opportunity to take care of ourselves, our families and neighbors, and our broader community. It’s an opportunity for us to share time with ourselves to be creative, to be more intentional in our routines, and to contemplate the bigger picture.
Getting through this crisis as a global community requires solidarity at all levels, based on cooperation, mutual aid, and the sharing of resources, especially towards communities that are the most vulnerable and economically impacted. Unlike charity, mutual aid projects are a form of social engagement in which people take responsibility for caring for one another and giving each other the needed material support, as well as transforming the socio-political and economic conditions that are driving injustice and inequity.
The alternative economies that are led and modeled today by grassroots communities around the world are especially pertinent. We are being called at this moment to deepen our connection to each other, care for each other, and stand in solidarity. Our grassroots partners at Thousand Currents often speak of and practice mutuality, reciprocity, and exchange, and many of them are putting into practice financial models that support communities’ holistic wellbeing. Buen vivir, which our Buen Vivir Fund is named after, is a concept that comes from Latin American Indigenous movements implying life in balance with community, natural systems, and future generations.
Community-care is community solidarity. Check in with people in your community; your elders, your folks who are without paid sick leave, freelancers, artists, musicians, writers, and those who have likely lost gigs. Coronavirus has made it clear that there aren’t sufficient safety nets in place to support the health of all people. People in the service industry, artists, contract workers, and people who are poor, are hit disproportionately harder than those who have the luxury to work from home, paid sick leave, and other benefits.
Rather than contract, this moment calls on us to share our resources and step into mutual aid and buen vivir. While it is important to be prepared, this is not a time to stockpile and hoard resources. Doing so only harms people who can’t afford or are unable to buy food, toiletries, and medications all at once. Buying up excess masks and protective gear that you don’t need but that healthcare workers desperately need hurts people who are most at risk.
Physical distancing is a critical act of social solidarity. We know that coronavirus is hitting older adults hardest as well as people who are immunocompromised. In order to mitigate the risk of transmission to folks who are most vulnerable, slow the spread of coronavirus, and “flatten the curve,” we need to practice physical distancing. But this doesn’t mean we need to shut each other out! This is an opportunity to deepen our relationships and check in on each other. Call a friend. Connect online! Share what’s on your heart. Share resources! Your favorite poems, podcasts, and songs with your network.
With this in mind, we have put together some resources that have been helpful for us, and we would like to share them with you.
BOOKMARK THIS: A very comprehensive CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE KIT featuring resources from disabled, queer, elderly, Asian, and Indigenous people.
About Coronavirus and how to stay safe:
- Coronavirus COVID-19 – Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- Frequently asked questions about coronavirus and COVID-19 – Harvard
- How to protect older people from coronavirus – New York Times
- What kids should know about the coronavirus – Washington Post
To engage in solidarity work:
- Hire independent artists impacted by COVID-19 cancellations
- Engage in social solidarity
- Listings of COVID-19 mutual aid initiatives
For self care:
- Care for your coronavirus anxiety
- “Free or fairfair-cost online wellness led by people of color, womxn, and queer folks”
For what’s keeping us sane and giving us life right now:
- Our favorite recipes: Recipes That Change The World
- Our “Community Care Vibes” playlist on spotify, featuring our favorite songs.
The most important treatment for coronavirus is solidarity. We will get through this together with unity and open hearts. As we recognize the scale of this threat and take bold action, we can fundamentally shift the way we function as a global community.
In solidarity and with love, Thousand Currents team.