Mutual Aid Worcester Culture and Mission
Mutual Aid Worcester is a place for Worcester folks to identify community need and develop community solutions to respond to those needs.
What is mutual aid?
Everyone has something to teach and something to share. And we all need assistance at times.
Mutual aid is the act of directly helping a community member in need. When we provide mutual aid, we distribute resources amongst ourselves – both material and emotional – and we form bonds with the people we are connecting with so that we are investing in long-term relationships, community, and collective organizing.
We seek to use our privileges — including access to material resources, freedom of movement, skills, knowledge, experience, and decision-making influence — to support people’s self-determination and survival in crisis and their long-term resilience afterwards.
Mutual aid is not the same thing as charity; it is not about wealthy people donating small amounts of money to organizations.
Mutual aid is transparent; it is by the people for the people.
Mutual aid is based in creative grassroots organizing and action that prioritizes the most marginalized and most vulnerable. It amplifies their voices and gives them the autonomy to express exactly what they need and how they would like to receive help.
We recognize disaster survivors’ rights to determine what their needs are and how best others could assist them. We therefore commit ourselves to acting humbly, asking, listening, and trusting each other.
A community is only as strong and healthy and happy as its most marginalized and vulnerable members. We can all help each other, and just because we are not all able to deliver food, provide capital, most community members are able to offer something to the greater group and are interested in being part of a system that emphasizes sharing not hoarding and connecting not isolating.
Our structure is horizontal, decentralized, and participatory. This means we share resources, skills, experience, knowledge, and ideas without perpetuating relationships based on hierarchical power. This requires shared leadership and decision-making in an environment that is safe and inclusive for all participants.
We hold ourselves accountable to the communities and people that make up this group and the greater Worcester community. We therefore recognize, honor, and respect differences across cultures, traditions, and religions. In recognition of this, we listen and support rather than prescribe solutions based on our own personal or cultural values, while still staying honest and authentic to ourselves and our principles.
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” -Lilla Watson