We just wanted to first of all say, we hope you are all well and looking after yourselves at this troubling time. As you have probably already guessed, the Building/Bridging session for next week is off. But we also wanted to inform you of a great community building resource for local mutual aid groups.
Although we really believe in the power of face-to-face connections and the importance of developing our community collectiveness and wellbeing (especially for when times are tough!) we have decided that the wisest thing to do right now is postpone our next session until we know that it is safe for people to gather.
We will instead be thinking about moving online for the next one, please wait to hear more from us. We will be in touch very soon notifying you more about this, we are also thinking about how best to keep conversations about community organising going. We want to explore how best we can work together despite the need for ‘social distancing’ and isolation. We are, for example, thinking about setting up a Facebook page. Do let us know your thoughts on how best to move forward.
This project, looking at how we build and bridge communities, matters even more in times like this. But the crisis also provides us with an opportunity, because in adversity people’s natural instinct is to pull together.
In the meantime, you may have seen many mutual aid groups being set up across the borough. While it is great that there are umbrella groups at both borough and ward level, there really does need to be a very local level for groups (at street or estate level).
Corona virus affects us both individually and as a community. And everyone in our community is able, in some way to help us all in these difficult times. There is a tendency to think in terms of ‘vulnerable’ people, and ‘victims’ as living alongside, well meaning ‘helpers’. We need to reframe this because everyone of us has something to contribute and everyone of us may, at some stage in this crisis, be in need of support.
We need to develop various ways in which we can all support each other, which is why the Ella Baker School has developed guidance for setting up local (street based) groups. One thing is certain, when you operate at that level, it is much easier to get everyone involved (because you know every house in your street).
Finally, here’s a hopeful song for you all – Imagine – John Lennon
May you all be well and free from suffering.
Shaira and the team at Ella Baker
Who we are
Hackney Unites is a coalition for social justice, we work to create organised and inclusive communities. We are grateful for financial support from our many individual donors.