As survivors of natural and human-caused disasters ourselves, we know that disasters are happening with increasing intensity, catching us by surprise with their fury and speed, followed by the slow and endless recovery process. Our communities know all too well the difficulties that we face from these disasters: major storms, tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, fires; and the problems that accompany them. As a national coalition, we pull together to help one another to recover. We, as members of Anthropocene Alliance (A2), have launched our own disaster recovery network with this mutual aid fund.
Coalition members want to pay-it-forward and help one another when disaster strikes and allow us to help our communities when they are overwhelmed by a disaster. Led by volunteers, our mutual aid fund aims to provide assistance in bridging the gap between our community leaders, our resources, and governmental and local responses to the emergency situation. We are able to help our neighbors with a community-driven approach to direct assistance where it is most needed.
Additionally, many of our communities and their members are already vulnerable due to their experiences from redlining, chronic underfunding, structural racism and other forms of discrimination. Many of these disadvantaged communities are in areas that experience repeated emergencies. When a disaster or emergency is layered onto the issues that these communities already face, recovery is frequently slower, if they can recover at all.
The Mission of the A2 Mutual Aid Fund is:
working in solidarity to provide pre- and post-disaster relief to promote climate justice, compassionate support, expedient assistance, material aid, transparency, and stability to communities impacted by climate, environmental, natural, human-caused, and industrial disasters.
Our Vision and Values are:
To cooperate towards community-led, equitable, and just solutions.
To enhance access to resources, preparedness and resilience.
To invest responsibly in long-term sustainability and preventive community care.
To network and outreach with solidarity, reciprocity, and restoration.
To honor traditional ancestral knowledge and practices.
From direct experience, we know that recovery requires local leadership and the quick provision of funds to people on the ground in the immediate aftermath of these disasters. The A2 Mutual Aid Fund lessens the burdens and hardships that our communities experience. We expect the fund to grow as we grow, and become a cornerstone of our efforts for disaster relief, recovery, and prevention.
What can Mutual Aid funds be used to provide?
Community leaders are best positioned to determine where the area of greatest importance is to address the needs of our member communities during the aftermath of an event. Some of the types of items that may be offered include:
- Prepaid Gift Cards
- Hotel and Emergency Housing funding
- Drinking Water
- Cleaning and Sanitation Materials
- Diapers and Baby Supplies for families experiencing loss
- Building Materials for Repairs
- Food and Clothing
- Transportation Costs
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Medical Supplies
What other types of items could be funded?
Leaders may find their community could benefit from funding that leads to a long-term solution, such as a study or project. While our grants are limited in size, funding could be used to help with these types of items.
A2 Mutual Aid Steering Committee:
Voting Members: Beth Butler, A Community Voice (LA); Vernon Haltom, Coal River Mountain Watch (WV); Melissa Hines (Clinch Coalition, VA); Gloria Horning, Higher Ground Pensacola (FL); Kathleen Sullivan, Stop Elmhurst Flooding (IL); Gabriella Velardi-Ward, Coalition for Wetlands and Forests (NY); Romona Williams, Montgomery Citizens for United Prosperity (MS)
Alternates: Lorena Venegas, 10,000 Hawks (CT); Zappa Montag, Black to the Land (CA); Amy Stelly, Claiborne Avenue Alliance (LA)