A model for community organizing and mutual support during the coronavirus pandemic
In response to the global pandemic, the Lisa for Maine campaign is reshaping itself into a model of the kind of community organizing and mutual support that is critical to our survival in this unprecedented crisis. We must pull together and help each other to ensure that our basic needs are met when the infrastructure of society fails us. Recent events in China and Italy give us a clear picture of things to come. The situation in the United States is likely to be far worse, given that our government, healthcare system, and economic system are woefully unprepared to handle this crisis.
Take a look at Lisa Savage for US Senate's comprehensive emergency response plan for the coronavirus pandemic. Then read on for more information about what our grassroots campaign is doing to keep everyone safe, and how we’re adapting to keep organizing with people like you to bring about the big changes we need.
Stay Safe: Be Proactive, not Reactive!
|Act Now: STAY HOME | JOIN | SHARE | CONNECT | BUILD|
Effective immediately, we are cancelling all in-person meetings, house parties, fundraisers, and events, and shifting our focus online and over the phone. This is a temporary measure to keep everyone as safe as possible until the most significant danger has passed. In the meantime, we must continue to grow the campaign, reach out with our message and support, and help new people feel welcome to join our vibrant grassroots community. We know that the big-money candidates will be pouring millions of dollars into this race, but we can certainly beat that by developing networks of trust and friendship and mutual support. Politics is about people, and the relationships that matter most to people cannot be bought and sold. By working together to get through this crisis, we can build the kind of network that we'll need to overcome the destructive influence of big money in politics and make real change.
If you're disgusted with presidential politics, and feel demoralized and shut out by the whole process, don't give up! Lisa Savage's grassroots campaign for US Senate, at the cutting edge of independent politics and ranked choice voting, is where you can make a difference. All it takes is one principled voice in Congress to dramatically shake things up. We are determined to send Lisa to the US Senate to be our voice for people, planet, and peace over profit.
Make Space for Action: the STAAR approach
Unfortunately, the existing government’s combination of denial, misleading information, and incompetent response has created a high level of anxiety. Telling people not to panic often has the opposite effect, yet acting like everything is fine can keep people trapped in denial and prevent the kind of community response we need. We must find a way to move past denial without triggering panic, and we can do that by carefully and deliberately choosing to make space for action in between those two states. We can do so using an approach known as STAAR, which stands for Stop, Think, Assess, Act, Reconnect.
Stop. Take a breath. Close your eyes. Feel your feet on the ground or the chair beneath you. Give yourself a moment to let go of the noise and pressure of everything around you until you're ready for the next step.
Give yourself some time to think carefully about where and who you are, the people around you, what's important to you, and what's going on. It's ok to be afraid. Many people are feeling afraid and uncertain right now. But this is not the first time we've faced a crisis and together we can find a way through this.
Assess the situation. Are there immediate needs that must be met? What resources do you have and what options are available to meet those needs? If there is nothing that must be addressed immediately, think forward a day or two, or a week, or even a month to anticipate future needs and decide what you can do now in order to make things better when the time comes.
Now that you have some idea of what needs to be done and how to do it, decide on an action and do it. Whether it’s something big or small, focus on the action and do your best to get it done. Let go of big picture concerns as you concentrate on completing a concrete action. Then congratulate yourself for getting something done.
Reach out to someone - a family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, fellow activist - and ask them how they’re doing. Let them know they’re not alone, and remind yourself that you are not alone. Social distancing and isolation is difficult for everyone, and it’s essential that we maintain and strengthen connections and relationships with others. Call, video chat, message people on social media, or just smile and wave at your neighbors. Make time to refresh old connections. Especially when people are feeling isolated, your reaching out may be just what they needed.
Stay home, save lives!
The most important thing you can do for yourself and for the community is to stay home. During the peak of this crisis, expect travel restrictions and quarantines like we've never seen before in the entire history of the US. This is real and it's happening. The best thing to do is to be as prepared as possible before your movements are restricted. That does not mean panic buying, but it does mean reasonable efforts to prepare yourself and your family to be self-sufficient for an extended period of time.
If at this point you are feeling anxious and overwhelmed, remind yourself to be a STAAR and follow the procedure outlined above - Stop, Think, Assess, Act, Reconnect. Here is a list of items for preparation, including some you might not have thought of:
- Medicine - Take an inventory of your prescriptions and order in advance if you can. Consider using a mail order pharmacy or check out this page for more options.
- Food - Of course this is the first thing that comes to mind, and it's important for obvious reasons. One trick is to look over your recent grocery receipts to spot items you may have forgotten. Use them also to make a reasonable estimate of how much food you will actually need to stock up, to be prepared in case you need to self-isolate for several weeks. Unless you eat out often, your purchase history will be a good estimate of your needs, since you'll eat the same amount of food anyway. Focus on non-perishable items. It is much healthier to get frozen vegetables instead of canned, although freezer space may be limited. Be a STAAR - think and assess before you act.
- If you have special dietary needs it is especially important for you to stock up in advance, as emergency food distribution efforts may not account for a variety of special needs.
- Contact info - be sure you have contact info in advance, of everyone you regularly interact with as well as others in your community who may need help or can be a resource for you.
- Toothpaste, hand soap, laundry detergent, trash bags, tampons, batteries, and all other consumables. Again, check your last two months' grocery receipts for items you may have missed.
- Bottled water and flashlights - these are items you are NOT likely to need, as it is unlikely that water and electricity will be disrupted. These are items that most people in Maine keep on hand as part of their emergency kits anyway, so in most cases it is sufficient to check that you already have them.
- Books, games, movies, projects, hobbies, and other entertainment - although less critical than all the items above, these will certainly help you cope with long periods at home. Mental health is something to be taken seriously, and you'll be grateful you took some time to think about this in advance.
You are safest at home:
Although the rush and pressure of preparation is stressful, the result is that you can rest easier and be more comfortable while waiting at home for the danger to pass. One way of coping with this crisis is to make the best of a bad situation, by giving yourself time and space that you wouldn't otherwise have to rest, read, meditate, call friends and family, etc. Try not to stay glued to TV news or social media. Of course it is important to stay informed, but it is also unhealthy to let 24/7 crisis coverage keep you in a heightened state all day. Budget your time and balance active time and quiet time.
Keep in mind that no matter how bad it gets, you are safe at home. Restrictions are all about limiting contact with other people. It is always ok to go out and get exercise and fresh air as long as you are away from other people. Look for open space where you can maintain social distancing. This can be an opportunity to take the space and time to improve your own health, and fresh air and exercise is a great way to do that.
Please join our community. We need you!
Connect with others in our community:
Once you join the Lisa for Maine campaign, you will have a page of personalized links to share that will help you grow your personal network and help us grow the campaign. You can also use the SHARE button in the lower left corner of this page. Please share information about our campaign widely. Inviting your friends, family, and fellow activists to join our campaign will really help to build the kind of community we need to make positive change.
Connect with our campaign:
If you have not already been connected with a point person from our campaign team, please use our CONTACT form to request one. Although we are not holding in-person events at this time, the campaign will eventually be announcing Events and Activities that will help us build solid relationships with other activists. For now, we are focusing on reaching out to people with phone calls, text messages, social media, letters to the editor, and other forms of outreach that keep our volunteers and community safe. Please sign up on our VOLUNTEER page if you’d like to be a part of our grassroots outreach effort. Last but not least, please check out our ACTION page for further information about how to spread the word about our campaign.
Help us build a movement:
We will be posting more in-depth information on public policy and the broader issues that have made us vulnerable to this pandemic, to serve as a long term resource for you. Please be sure to check out our Campaign Updates page as well as our Issues page to learn why it is so important to have a US Senator for People, Planet, and Peace. Together we will get through this crisis, but in light of the ongoing climate crisis, we will need to keep building a community that can work together to create the better world we need.
And finally, a message from Lisa: "You are not alone.":
More videos from Lisa can be found on the Lisa for Maine Youtube Channel.