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The Covid-19 crisis has been a true test of the resiliency of our communities. It has shown the enormous gaps where government safety nets have fallen short where ad hoc community groups have stepped in to provide needed assistance to people. It has shown where pre-pandemic community resilience building by local and regional governments have shown their purpose. And it has shown potential areas of growth where we can build off of what works.

While mutual aid networks are certainly filling a gap the government should be filling, there’s something at the macro-level we can learn from these forms of solidarity. In one way, it does show the power of humanity. The power of social capital.

We’re not talking about the top-down social capital that links community members to people in power, necessarily. But the social capital between people within communities. Daniel Aldrich, professor of political science and director of the Security and Resilience Studies Program at Northeastern University has studied social capital in how it’s connected to the resilience of communities and their abilities to recover in post-disaster situations.

“My obsession now,” Aldrich said in an April 2020 Covid-Calls interview about social capital and mutual aid, “is the belief that these ties are some of the most important resources that we have access to. And Covid-19’s physical distancing makes it all the more important to recognize their power.”


See full article here.