Solidarity with community
It was just past noon when students at my college received the news that we would have a week to leave campus due to growing concerns around COVID-19. Many of us were scrambling to figure out next steps and prepare to say what would be our final goodbyes to some of our peers.
In the weeks that followed, it seemed that we students were constantly advocating for these institutions of higher education to show compassion in light of these circumstances. Because even on campus there is no shared college experience, and this is certainly brought to light when leaving these campuses. There are no universal learning conditions that students have equal access to, and this needs to be taken into consideration when making decisions for the entire student body.
In turn, students across the world are organizing for universal grading policies, because no one should receive a failing grade during a pandemic. Around access to safe housing, as many students were evicted from their campuses on short notice, and had their on-campus employment terminated for the duration of the semester. For fair tuition, as we are in the middle of a global health and economic crisis - many students and their families are facing extreme financial hardship. Rather than exacerbating these circumstances, these institutions should be responding to the concerns and new realities of their students' lives.
Outside of school, I have gotten involved in more local mutual aid projects, centered around COVID-19 relief efforts. I am a part of the solidarity fund volunteer team for the Buffalo Mutual Aid Network. Essentially we are looking for people who are willing to redistribute funds to those who have lost their income or are at risk due to COVID-19. Additionally, supporting folks who were left out of relief benefits (stimulus checks, unemployment, etc.), as they’re obviously still feeling the impacts of this global crisis. This has been an effective, remote way to support others, especially when social distancing.
If you would be interested in volunteering or providing support in other ways, contact BuffaloMutualAid@gmail.com. Additionally, Big Door Brigade is a helpful resource in learning about mutual aid, and they also provide a toolbox highlighting numerous ways we can support one another (http://bigdoorbrigade.com/what-is-mutual-aid/ + http://bigdoorbrigade.com/mutual-aid-toolbox/ ).
A few more mutual aid efforts you can check out are:
The OSA Undocumented Family Relief Fund (https://www.gofundme.com/f/osa-undocumented-family-relief-fund).
The National Domestic Workers’ Alliance Coronavirus Care Fund (https://secure.actblue.com/donate/coronavirus-care-fund).
The COVID-19 Mutual Aid Fund for LGBTQI+ BIPOC Folks (https://www.gofundme.com/f/covid19-relief-fund-for-lgbtqi-bipoc-folks).
And what of New Hampshire?
The “Live Free or Die” motto had many wondering just what measures the state would take in the face of this crisis. Even though there are folks who oppose the stay-at-home measures in place, and this is true across the country.
New Hampshire has been handling the crisis in a seemingly unified manner. This is evident when looking at how local departments and agencies have been committed to responding to the challenges New Hampshire residents now face in light of the pandemic. From temporary closures, to remote learning measures being enforced through the end of the academic year, to numerous state-wide relief efforts, and the goal to ensure that testing can be made readily available to any Granite Staters with symptoms.
So try to protect yourself and those in your community, by adhering to these measures to the best of your ability. While it is still too early to say what will happen next, the continued cooperation of folks is necessary to get to where we’d like to be. And as was mentioned before, now is the perfect time to get involved in relief efforts, especially mutual aid projects, since so much can be done whilst social distancing.
If anything, this situation has only highlighted what it means to be in solidarity with community. At the end of the day, we’re all we’ve got.