Open Collective
Open Collective
December 2020 Update: Looking Back, Looking Forward
Published on December 18, 2020 by Hermosa Mutual Aid

Dear Wonderful Contributors:

Thanks so much to all of you for your past and ongoing support. We’ve been doing a lot this month: increasing participation in our mutual aid efforts, launching a holiday meal program, monitoring requests for aid, distributing cash assistance, and partnering with other community organizations to hold a successful clothing and toy drive.

We all know, though, that the pandemic is far from over, and its effects will continue to reverberate in our communities for years to come. Despite the relieving news of a vaccine soon to be widely distributed to Chicagoans, we know that this winter will be the hardest that any of us can remember, marked by even more loss and tragedy. We are certainly worried about the health and safety of our neighbors, as well as the dwindling resources to help them keep the lights on and food on the table. Eviction moratoriums will soon end, government-funded aid initiatives have been exhausted, and we are preparing for the uncertainty that we inevitably will face in the upcoming year. As soon as the end of this month, we will be out of a distributor for the food that our families have relied on for months.

It feels good knowing you’re here to lean on. With our collective might, we have raised over $3,000 for food, supplies, rent and utility bills for Hermosa families. That is amazing. We know you all are conscious of the continued--if not increased--necessity of this work, and we hope this moment inspires you to continue your support, whether it be financial or you decide to participate in other ways. We can only grow our community with your help, so don’t forget to follow us on social media and share our initiatives with your social networks. We also welcome any suggestions, resources, or questions that you may have for us.

The heart and soul of mutual aid is perhaps best defined by this quote by Maori activist Lilla Watson: “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.” The top-down "charity" work that has long perpetuated social and class hierarchies has created savior complexes and a feeling of passive disconnect between donors and their recipients. This pandemic has shown in stark terms that we are all intimately interconnected. Our health and wellness depends on the health and wellness of those around us. And while others are oppressed, we are, too.

We need you, and we need each other. Thank you so much to all of you, no matter how much you have contributed. Let's keep carrying each other through this.

In solidarity not charity,

Claire, Gina, Emily, Vivian

Your HMA team