In response to the COVID-19 crisis Climate Action Now is participating in the “Western Mass Community Mutual Aid” network (https://www.wmacma.com/). The Network extends from Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke, through Northampton and Amherst to Greenfield and beyond and includes all the surrounding cities and towns. Through the Network everyone is able to offer and request services (an online story hour, shopping for groceries, rides, a housing attorney, etc) and also to donate and request needed funds. The animating spirit of this network is “Solidarity not charity” and “We need each other.” We recognize that what resources we have to offer and our needs for resources are significantly the result of inequities in our society based in race, class, gender and other divisions and oppressions.
“Mutual aid” means that everyone who has a need, is invited to see themselves as having something to offer as well, and visa versa. The network also is playing a very positive role in redistributing resources from individuals and communities with more resources to individuals and communities with high needs. We see this as an effort that will extend indefinitely beyond the COVID-19 crisis and help us develop a more sustainable, regenerative, just, integrated, self-reliant community that knits together the entire Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts and leads us to all treat each other as valued neighbors. This is both a response to the current crisis and a building of community that will be sustainable and resilient in the face of future crises and the effects of climate change.
While climate action is the primary focus of CAN, like many national climate organizations we must also be a multi-issue organization – standing in solidarity with marginalized populations and their organizations – backing and assisting them in their campaigns and issues and also inviting them to participate with us in the struggle to stop climate devastation. The COVID-19 crisis can help CAN become even more central in the broader justice-seeking community throughout western Massachusetts, and provide opportunities for us to help develop a greater commitment in all populations to take action against climate change as we work together for justice, safety and health for everyone.