Illustration by Anneleise Hall

"Imagining a System" illustration by Anneleise Hall

In 2020, as the world got slammed by the impacts of the Pandemic, the once-fringe concept of Mutual Aid rapidly went mainstream (or at least a version of it), when people stepped up to support their neighbors and communities as many societal life-sustaining systems were disrupted.

On the positive side of things, prosocial activities like sharing food in public, which had been criminalized in many places, suddenly became normalized. Organizing neighborhoods and blocks became routine. And inequalities which had long been hard to see just under the surface became visible.

But it was not all roses. Mutual aid has a deep political history of challenging the status quo that was often neglected or purposely stripped away. And as the Pandemic transitioned to being endemic, many of the pre-covid policies that criminalized Mutual Aid, returned, with some being much worse.

In our recent feature story, the noted mutual aid practitioner and educator, Dean Spade, wrote about how the Georgia state Attorney General, Chris Carr, is currently arguing that participation in mutual aid projects and practicing solidarity as part of the organizing happening to Stop Cop City constitutes a criminal act to further a criminal conspiracy.

Dean illustrates how this represents a brazen assault on social justice organizers reminiscent of the FBI’s surveillance and attacks on the Civil Rights and Black Power movements in the 1960s and 70s.

And it’s not just in Georgia, all over the US, reactionary policies are criminalizing reproductive justice, climate protests, and more.

Today on the show, we’ve brought on Stephanie Rearick, a founder, and Director of the Madison Mutual Aid Network Cooperative and Humans United in Mutual Aid Networks, or HUMANS for short, which is a new type of networked cooperative ‘creating means for everyone to discover and succeed in work they want to do, with the support of their community.’

In this conversation, Stephanie talks about how mutual aid has changed since the pandemic began, how to create networks of Care that can actually support members of our communities long term, the new tech stack that they’re creating to support mutual aid work to scale, and what it means to live a POSHtarity Lifestyle.


Episode credits:

Follow The Response on Twitter and Instagram for updates, memes, and more. Our entire catalog of documentaries and interviews can be found at — or wherever you get your podcasts.

Want to help spread the word? Please rate and review us on Apple Podcasts and Spotify — it makes a huge difference in reaching new people who may otherwise not hear about this show.

The Response is published by Shareable.

Available anywhere you get your podcasts, including:

Image result for apple podcastImage result for spotifyRelated image

The Response is an award-winning podcast series produced by Shareable and Robert Raymond exploring how communities respond to disaster — from hurricanes to wildfires to reactionary politics and more.

The Response: Building Collective Resilience in the Wake of Disasters

Download our free ebook- The Response: Building Collective Resilience in the Wake of Disasters (2019)