When asked what the first piece of evidence of human civilization was, Margaret Mead’s reply was simple: a mended bone.
I love this answer because it expresses an important truth, that the root of human societies is care. It also reveals why our current situation is so abysmal. There is an absence of care from those in power and in the systems we live in.
How else can you explain that after months of learning in this pandemic, knowing full well how to prevent community spread and economic hardships, we find ourselves in the red part of the risk dial and people suffering and dying? This kind of colossal failure can’t be explained away by “natural disaster.”
Our state and federal leadership’s response is the disaster. Oppressive policies full of profound ignorance, dangerous negligence and violent cruelty have worsened this crisis for the majority of people. And this crisis has only intensified the centuries-long disasters of poverty and white supremacy.
It is up to us, now — and always — to care for one another. That care must include engaging in best practices regarding COVID and sharing accurate information. This work also needs to include participating in mutual aid regarding access to food, childcare and housing. Organizing and direct action are also acts of care.
Whatever form it takes, big or small, acts of care make an impact. Let the record continue to show, with evidence that now includes things like handmade masks, care continues to be the root of what makes communities survive, and ultimately, thrive.