How activists are stepping up COVID-19 mutual aid efforts in the U.S.

While the U.S. government scrambles to piece together a coordinated response to the COVID-19 outbreak, grassroots activists across the country are stepping up to fill the void with hyper-local, relief-oriented mutual aid projects. “The term ‘mutual aid’ basically just means when people band together to meet immediate survival needs, usually because of a shared understanding that the systems in place aren’t coming to meet them, or certainly not fast enough — if at all,” says Dean Spade, professor at the Seattle University School of Law. Mariame Kaba, longtime organizer, abolitionist and educator, says the long-term goal of mutual aid is to “[change] the social relationships that we have amongst each other in order to be able to fight beyond this current moment, beyond the current crisis, beyond the current form of a disaster that we are trying to overcome.”

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