Dean Spade defines mutual aid as:
“[O]rdinary people . . . feeling called to create bold
and innovative ways to share resources and support vulnerable
neighbors . . . done in conjunction with social movements
demanding transformative change”
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Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Acts 2:43-45
Salal + Cedar’s Mutual Aid & Solidarity Team (MAST) has been dreaming and scheming of ways to expand our outreach and support to more individuals and grassroots projects in our wider community. Mutual aid is a radical alternative to charity or government assistance that aligns strongly with our community’s values. Consisting of networks of individuals and groups who engage in voluntary reciprocal exchanges of resources and services for mutual benefit, mutual aid is not only a means to redistribute material goods, funds, and assistance but rather a form of political engagement that creates solidarity, grows and expands community networks, and in the end builds powerful social movements. Its very existence transform society!
Some contributions are one-off gifts for unexpected or emergency needs; others are ongoing partnerships. Examples include supporting folks to pay off debts; establishing and supplying food pantries to create neighborhood food security; covering travel costs to water and land defenders; and more.
Like the passage from Acts (above), the ethos of mutual aid is community members assuming responsibility and caring for one another in the face of increasingly fragile and failing traditional systems. Are you, like us, distressed to see social and political conditions becoming harsher for more and more people as climate emergencies grow more frequent and institutions abandon our most vulnerable and desperate community members to their own devices? Mutual aid is one way to support collective grassroots projects to address these needs and concerns when time constraints prevent more personal active involvement. To date, MAST has been:
Providing financial support to grassroots and cultural initiatives for climate justice.
Supporting projects that meet the needs of individuals and groups within our watershed and networks.
Offering crisis and monthly support commitments to community members and allies.
Building solidarity and lasting relationships within our community and beyond.
Contact us if you’d like to find out more about the principles and practices of mutual aid or how you can become more involved.