by Christa, Philly Sorry the post is so link heavy!
I recently read this fabulous piece by Yashna Maya Padamsee entitled “Communities of Care, Organizations for Liberation”. I found that I had too much to say about it to just post it on facebook so I decided to dust off the ole blog. I have been thinking, studying, writing, and workshopping about community care for the past 3 years. Unfortunately, I still feel a bit lost on how to tackle these issues, especially if it means simultaneously waging a campaign, planning actions, and going to events. Thankfully, I feel more supported and valued in my current organizing than I did when I was an undergrad doing student organizing.
One of the major obstacles to community care that I have observed (both in myself & in others) is the fear to ask for help. People are afraid to be burdensome or don’t believe they deserve assistance/support. This is because other people don’t ask for help so it is not a community norm . This is not only true in activist communities but in society as a whole. If you ask for help, especially if it is deemed excessive, you face social sanctions (in the form of shame, ridicule, criticism, disapproval and social exclusion).
Community members and organizations don’t make it known that support is available. Many groups would at least try to step up if someone expressed their needs, but people keep quiet. It’s a chicken-and-egg problem and I think we all need to work on breaking the cycle.