Showing up for Ourselves and Each Other: Community Care and Safety Planning in Times Of Crisis

These days, we are all feeling the impact of upheaval, violence, fear, pain, and rage, carrying the weight of it in our spirit, as we work to meet the challenges coming at us each and every day. We all know the challenges — pandemic, uprising, election, violence — even if they affect us differently.  

In the midst of all this, we must show up — for ourselves, and for one another.

During these times, it is especially important to lead with compassion for self, and trust that setting the boundaries for ourselves does not mean we are not in this together. Our community is creative and we are finding innovative ways to support one another and connect, being mindful of safety.  

Showing up for ourselves — Audre Lorde said it best “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” When we show up for ourselves, we also make sure that we are well and whole enough to show up for one another–as another adage goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Showing up for ourselves will look different for different people, in different situations.  

Here are a few ideas that you can use if they fit for you:

  • Tune in – Take stock of how you’re feeling physically, mentally, and spiritually, and whether you need rest, care, or support from others, or information to help you make decisions for yourself in this moment.  
    • Reach out for support – showing up for ourselves often means getting support from others, whether that is your chosen family, your pod, a mutual aid group, or an organization like AVP.
    • Spend time doing what makes you feel grounded – Turn to what brings you solace and inspiration, which could be our ancestors, faith, rituals, art,  culture, food, family, pets, friends, community.  
    • Gather information on things that matter to you, from trusted sources–like information on the pandemic from the NYS Department of Health, information on where to go vote, or where to get resources
  • Tune out the things that might be negatively impacting your mental, spiritual, and physical health – this can mean taking a break from social media or other news sources, or limiting when and for how long you tune in, and it might mean not reaching out to people who are sources of conflict for you. 
  • Plan for how to get what you need to increase your safety, health, and wellness – ask for help, and be specific — do you need money, food, information, or some other resource  to increase safety?  More on safety planning in these uncertain times, below.

My Self Check-In Plan

What am I feeling?  Who is in my community?  How can they support me? What do I need?  What are other resources that might be helpful? 

Community Care in Action: No matter what, we show up for each other. In times like these, we need each other.  AVP was founded by community activists when LGBTQ people were being hurt, and no systems were responding. We had to show up for our community, because no one else would. We believe radical healing from pain and rage is possible, if we show up, for ourselves and each other. We know what we need, and we know how to build safety together, even when we are physically distanced. So what are some ways we show up for our community? 

  • Create and maintain connection: Queer, trans, and non-binary folks create chosen family, pods, and community to help avoid isolation when physical distancing may be the key to staying healthy. These connections can be especially helpful if we’re forced to stay in an unsafe living situation, or if we experience violence on the street or at work. Lean on and lean into these connections. Reach out and check in on one another when we can’t physically be together. Set up regular text, phone, or video meet-ups. 
  • Share information and resources: Word of mouth is often the way that our community makes sure folks have access to inclusive and affirming resources and accurate information about what’s happening in the world. Share trusted sources and resources, and if you have more than you need, share food, money, clothing, shelter with others who might need a hand. Pick up groceries or offer child care, if you can. Reach out to organizations, like AVP, the Trevor Project, or the Trans Lifeline to volunteer. 
  • Find the best way for you to act in this moment: We recognize the desperate need to act for positive change in this crucial moment, and also that there are many ways to engage in radical social justice work.  Check out this resource to figure out the best role for you.  
  • Be an Upstander: AVP’s next Bystander/Upstander intervention training is coming up, to help build tools for our community to step up and support each other and interrupt the violence we witness.

Safety Planning-for ourselves and with one another: Safety is multi-dimensional — it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and economic, and can change moment to moment.  Safety planning simply means we can identify what we need and how we might get it, to feel and be more prepared when in a crisis situation, or when we need extra support.

How do we create a safety plan? Check in with yourself and how you are currently feeling. Try to Identify what needs you might have if a crisis occurs or if you feel like extra support might be helpful during a difficult time. Some questions you might ask yourself are: 

  1. How am I feeling right now? What support do I need?  
  2. What am I afraid might happen?  
  3. Do I feel connected to my support systems or isolated? 

Keep in mind, there is no right answer here. Different people will need different things, and we all show up for each other in different ways. Here are some tips for safety if you are forced to stay with someone causing you harm and how to build safety while protesting.  

AVP is in this with you. If you experience or witness violence, or want to safety plan with us, call our 24/7 English/Spanish Hotline at 212-714-1141 or make a report online, either anonymously, or leave safe contact information, and a counselor will reach out.  If you want to organize with us and take action, email, and follow us on social media Facebook | Twitter  | Instagram.