We’re currently facing a global pandemic. If you find yourself saying “dear God! What do I do?!” you’re not alone. You may also be feeling anxious, scared, alone or a mixture of all. We are with you. Thinking about you, sending you good energy and hoping you feel loved and cared for in this time.
A renegade bug is showing how deeply broken our system is. Beyond the absolutely critical tasks of taking care of yourself, harm-reduction, social distancing, hand-washing, and looking out for those around us who are most struggling, we as feminists must also make that brokenness plain. We do not get to choose the historic moments we are born into, but we do get to choose how we respond. And as we recover, and put our world back together, we have a chance to put it back together differently and better. In that spirit, we are taking time to check on you and make sure that you are taking good care of yourself. We are living in very unprecedented times where our deepest duty is to care and show sisterhood solidarity to one another. Try out these seven tings and see how they help you go through this time:
- Take leadership in your spaces (Office, place of worship, neighborhood, family etc). We sink or swim together! Our actions today and in the coming days must be oriented toward lifting up those on the frontlines and those that like us, maybe scared , anxious or affected by the virus. Try and do your part in these times, forgive someone’s debt, buy groceries for someone , offer paid leave , give your team time off, enable people around you access information, call and talk to someone, offer some encouragement. These are basic acts of solidarity that may help us get through this.
- Follow simple rules. Like the coronavirus itself, which multiplies a simple cough into a global pandemic, we, too, by following simple rules — from washing hands to small acts of kindness to a flash mob in Italy that goes viral — can both defend against the virus and scale-up our activism.
Practice cultural Disobedience. Who knew that overthrowing patriarchy could help fight a virus, but consent culture is more important now than ever. It is not appropriate to touch or hug without asking first. We can elbow bump. We can bow. We can connect heart to heart instead of hand to hand. If slowing down and prioritizing care for loved ones is bad for the economy, then maybe it’s time for some new rules! Let’s prioritize compassion, provide needed services, and reclaim non-mainstream marginalized histories and experiences that show healthier ways of being.
- Get creative. Business can not remain as usual! What do you do when you can’t go out and organize mass protests? Get creative, as people all around the world are doing. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention and in response to this unprecedented moment, we are seeing a proliferation of creative tactics that build community and pressure the powerful. Be part of the solution, not the problem. Rituals can be a powerful tool for decreasing anxiety, building community, and unlocking the power of collective contemplation and action. Many faith leaders are responding to this moment by coordinating virtual services. Our familiarity with ritual makes it a great format for self-organizing.
- Be careful with yourself and with others. Flatten the curve. So we can rise up together for the long haul. Rest and joy are also radical acts. Stay home, restrict movements and if you must risk exposure , be careful.
- Find opportunity to build a solidarity economy. Why wait when we can build the future now? Many of the actions we’re seeing are prefigurative interventions: mutual aid, free online classes, food sharing, buying local and spending more time in nature. This crisis can be an emergent opportunity to change oppressive policies for good. As J.M. Greer says, “Let’s turn new normals into new beautifuls.”
- See things differently, change your perspective. Let us reframe our work and messaging toward a systems approach. “Social distancing” can be reframed as “spacious solidarity,” which connects us together in an act of taking space, rather than self-isolation. creative re-framing can help expose those oppressive structures as arbitrary and requiring systemic change.
If you’re looking for support while we are under lockdown, you can connect with me by calling or Writing back to me to let me know how you are taking care of you and extending solidarity to your community.
PLEASE STAY SAFE!