For much of 2020 and 2021, I worked on online-only community organizing and collaborating on rapid-response network tech with a mutual aid network in Brooklyn. We wanted to build a system that would spark and facilitate the autonomous community relationships that mutual aid relies upon - simply get neighbors connected by phones/text as quickly as possible, connecting needs/haves. Of course, it's never this simple.
Our system included an "intake" flow for folks who needed groceries delivered or direct peer-to-peer cash, and eventually a working group developed to foster more localized pod relationships. We took special care with data security, never collecting neighborhood addresses in our database and instead facilitating connections and deliveries with only cross streets and timely phone calls between neighbors. We made data decisions, and indeed all decisions, collectively via consensus.
Mark Anthony Hernandez Motaghy put together a convening of covid-formed mutual aid groups from Brooklyn and Somerville, MA. The results of our talk has been published as a zine by Thick Press.
I also cut my teeth as a mutual aid organizer at Common Ground Relief in New Orleans, and Occupy LSX.