What is Mutual Aid? Mutual Aid is “cooperation for the sake of the common good ;” it is “neighbors helping neighbors in times of struggle.” This often takes the form of organized community networks that step up to provide care and service when and where institutional systems fail to meet the community’s needs.
High Peaks DSA will assist every requestor in our region, while prioritizing those most impacted by this crisis. Black and brown, indigenous, latinx, persons of color, LGBTQIA+, women, immigrant, single-parent, sex worker, substance user, poor, differently-abled, older, quarantined, chronically ill, and/or unemployed community members are all disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Undocumented, some differently-abled folks, and non-tax payers, among others, were not eligible for a $1,200 stimulus check. The goal is to help these people now, even when the government chooses not to.
Disbursements: A group of volunteers from the community will review requests and funds will be equally distributed. Requestors who self-identify with any of the above demographics will receive 60% of the total funds raised, while all other requestors received 40%. Funds will be distributed via third-party platforms such as Venmo, PayPal, or Cashapp, or sanitized VISA gift-cards for those who do not have access to a computer, phone, or internet.
Timeline: High Peaks DSA began this campaign on Monday, May 11, at 12pm. The campaign will end on Friday, May 22, at 12pm with funds being distributed to all applicants who submitted by this time or have previously submitted. The disbursement of funds is to begin Monday, May 25 and aims to be completed by no later than Wednesday, May 27. Another round of fundraising will start subsequently.
Every contribution will help, even those of $5 or less! If you cannot afford to contribute, but would still like to help out, you can sign up to volunteer at www.highpeaksdsa.org or join one of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook groups.
All information submitted is confidential and private between the requestor, High Peaks DSA, and the coordinating volunteers. Personal information and requests will not be shared outside of the coordinating volunteers.
If you do not need financial assistance, but do need face masks, help grocery shopping, child care, or someone to talk you through the NYS unemployment application you may also fill out the request form at the High Peaks DSA website and organizers will do their best to match you with a volunteer or requested resources.
About the Organizers: High Peaks DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) is a group made up of community members living across the North Country, NY region who believe governments should prioritize human needs over anything else. The current circumstances have highlighted the lack of institutional support for the most important needs of community members including affordable medical care, debt relief, rent, mortgage, and utility relief, widely available PPE, and accessible unemployment funds. High Peaks DSA recognizes that the lack of institutional support for the community’s needs largely hinges on prioritization of profits over people. We hope, in this moment of crisis, to model the care for our neighbors that High Peaks DSA expects to be commonplace in the future.
High Peaks DSA seeks to coordinate with existing non-profit, charity, and service providers. Our goal is to help facilitate and support the clear desire in our community to be available for neighbors during this crisis. Funds are being raised in order to assist North Country neighbors who are struggling, sick, or out of work by offering an equitable financial contribution that may reduce the weight of increasing burdens.
If you would like to learn more about DSA and are interested in organizing for a more just and democratic worker-led society visit the High Peaks DSA website , and join our weekly Zoom meetings.
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