Astoria Mutual Aid Network aims to meet the needs of individuals in Astoria and Long Island City and across western Queens. We believe in solidarity not charity. We recognize that our well-being, health and dignity are all bound up in each other. We aim to bring people together to provide material support and to build trust based on common interest. Our goal is to leave this disaster better prepared and unified than when we entered it.
The Astoria Mutual Aid Network (AMAN) aims to foster communication and provide space for solidarity through the online forums it maintains, the direct services it provides, and the communication and cooperation of its community.
In facing the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, communication is essential for assessing and understanding community needs, as well as finding timely solutions. In order to maintain a space that centers community needs and ensures the safety and active inclusion of all members of our community, we ask for anyone engaging with Astoria Mutual Aid Network to embrace and accept our Community Agreements as we engage with one another.
Because we are a self-organized community of neighbors, we have established a set of Community Agreements that provide the framework for how we engage with one another, other groups, and our community. These Agreements were established by our Community and can be distilled into 3 key themes:
Mutual aid is a form of collective action that seeks to meet people’s immediate needs, build solidarity and facilitate community-based problem solving. Despite the rise of many new mutual aid groups in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, mutual aid has existed forever. Indigenous, BIPOC or other marginalized communities have played a significant role in the formation of mutual aid organizations as they turned to one another for support when systems like the government did not meet their needs.
Mutual aid is not like traditional charity. In a Mutual Aid mindset, everyone has something to offer and may have something they need. There are not usually any eligibility requirements to access resources and the individuals who provide services or support are typically self-organized and operate in a non-hierarchical structure. In contrast, traditional charity may perpetuate a division between people who have the resources to give and those who have the needs. Mutual aid seeks to democratize both power and access to resources.
MAY 28, 2020
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