Social Movements While Social Distancing!

Last week we announced that because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we were moving meetings and trainings from in-person to online. But social distancing doesn’t mean that we need to slow down our social movements! In fact, we're stepping things up! Over the next couple of weeks, #ShutDownDC and our friends are holding a whole series of online trainings, meetings, and info sessions!


Sign up to get plugged in! (This is a growing list of events so check out our calendar for the latest info. If you have event that should be added to the calendar, email us at info@shutdowndc.org)


Sunday, March 15 at 6pm—Earth Day to May – How we’re going to make it happen This spring, from Earth Day to May Day, we’re going to take bold action to confront the climate crisis. Join us for a one-hour orientation session to hear about the action framework and how we’re all going to work together to make this historic mobilization happen! If you’re excited about taking action for climate justice and want to know how to get involved, this is the first step to plugging in!


Monday, March 16 at 6:30pm—Local Green New Deal Organizing Meeting

The Sunrise Movement DC Hub is anchoring the action on Tuesday, April 28, lifting up their demands for a local Green New Deal here in DC. Help make it happen! Join the organizing meeting on Monday, March 27


Tuesday, March 17 at 7pm—Quick Decisions in Small Groups

In #ShutDownDC we organize in small(ish) groups called affinity groups- groups of 5-6 or fewer to 20 or more people that organize to support each other in taking risks together. By organizing in small groups, we can get to know the folks we’re taking to the streets with, come up with creative action ideas that we can organize ourselves (without waiting for somebody else to tell us what to do), adapt quickly to changing conditions and coordinate with other affinity groups. One of the main strengths of organizing actions through lots of small(ish) affinity groups is that we can work together to adapt to quickly changing situations. Join us for a short mini-training on making decision in small groups. We'll learn about small group consensus and some other tools to for quickly making decisions!


Thursday, March 19 at 6pm—Earth Day to May Day—How we’re going to make it happen!

This spring, from Earth Day to May Day, we’re going to take bold action to confront the climate crisis.Join us for a one-hour orientation session to hear about the action framework and how we’re all going to work together to make this historic mobilization happen! If you’re excited about taking action for climate justice and want to know how to get involved, this is the first step to plugging in!


Thursday, March 19 at 7pm--#ShutDownDC Organizing Meeting

Join us for our weekly organizing meeting! Things are changing rapidly, and we are all working quickly to adapt and respond so during this week’s meeting we’ll be working through our plans to keep this vital work moving forward in light of the developing public health crisis! Make sure that somebody from your affinity group or working group is on this important call!




Collective Action: More Important Than Ever!

It’s mid-March and the first planned day of action isn’t for more than six weeks. It is far, far too soon to know how this public health crisis will impact the Earth Day to May Day framework because we don’t have any idea what this pandemic will look like in a few weeks. But here is what we do know:

  • We are facing down a climate crisis that threatens our collective survival.

  • In the coming months and years, we will face many, many more crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Our governments and the powerful corporations are not doing what needs to be done to address the climate crisis OR the pandemic.

  • The government’s responses to both of these crises has lacked transparency with officials blatantly obfuscating facts. This highlights the urgent need for true democratic participation in times of crisis.

  • Solidarity is the best medicine. Working together and building strong and resilient movements based on cooperation and mutual aid are the keys to surviving the COVID-19 pandemic and the climate crisis.

So, we’re moving full steam ahead with organizing! Dynamic front line and local organizations are leading us on each day of the mobilization, and we are committed to supporting the ongoing campaigns that they are working hard to advance. We are going to take common sense precautions like move our meetings from in-person sessions to Zoom video conferences and postpone in-person trainings for a few weeks. We have already expanded our video conferencing capabilities so we can host calls of more than 100 people and if we need to invest in additional Zoom accounts or webcams to allow working groups and affinity groups to coordinate, we can certainly do that. And of course, we will continue to listen closely to the advice of public health experts about how to keep ourselves and our communities healthy and safe.


We hope that affinity groups will have each other’s backs through these trying times, checking in on and taking care of members who are sick or under quarantine. And some affinity groups may organize mutual aid pandemic relief, bringing food and other supplies to neighbors who are under quarantine or sick, confronting government and public health officials when they make decisions that put our communities at risk, or even expropriating medical supplies hoarded by the for-profit pharmaceutical companies!


Staying safe in the streets

Right now there is no way to know what the pandemic will look like by late April. But regardless of what types of medical risks or hazards we are experiencing at that time, there are lots of ways to engage in collective action! It’s possible that by late April the worst of the virus will have passed us by already and we can organize without thinking much about it. We also may find ourselves wanting to change our targets to name, shame and disrupt the organizations and institutions that allowed this virus outbreak to turn into a pandemic. And if we are still facing serious restrictions on coming together for mobilizations, artist and activist David Solnit has developed a pretty robust list of different tactics we can take, even under quarantine.


We don’t know how the next few weeks are going to play out but what we do know is that solidarity and collective action is our strongest weapon against any of these challenges we are facing!

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