A story of disaster solidarity and mutual aid
November 2, 2012 9:59 AM   Subscribe

As you all know, being the creative type that I am, I love do it yourself projects… however, I found myself in the middle of a rather unusual project, which involved a lot of creative “thinking outside of the box” and it was more then just a do-it-yourself. It was more of a “do it ourselves” project. and we did it. successfully.: Here’s the story of how we helped Nick Dupree.

Big organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross do useful work, but usually not at this stage of chaos on this individual level. A week and a half from now they’ll be in charge whether they’re effective or not, but right now it’s anarchy, so we have a chance to be the most useful with direct action. Just go…right now while it’s crucial… go to wherever the problem is, LISTEN TO PEOPLE… and pitch in. Don’t just donate some old clothes or cans of food as if you can dump your trash on other people and it will magically make them middle class and give them all the infrastructure of your massive privilege! Go to gather information, find out what is needed, improvise, and DO SOME WORK.
posted by latkes (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Boy, the FPP barely touches the surface of what is going on in this article. Might I suggest the following (from the last link):

People are very, very disrespectful and I don’t like to be dehumanized. But to get along and survive, sometimes we have to just eat disrespect. For Nick and Aleja, crossing that line could mean someone would try to force Nick to evacuate without real infrastructure in place to support them and his health care, and his breathing. . . When I’m casually dehumanized I lose a little dignity and I get mad. When Nick is, his life is on the line.

Also from the last link, regarding the businessweek article:

While I can see the effort this reporter made to be helpful, the disrespectful language and the way the story frames Nick and Aleja both made me furious and sick to my stomach. The reporter couldn’t even be bothered to get a quote from Nick but described his very act of speaking as “burbling” etc, in ways that are classically dehumanizing… as non-speech, as non-human, as alien other. I can see reporters will think this an interesting story — and it is, but not like this, not this easy win at Disability Reporting Bingo. Most of the people helping here are also people with disabilities, for example. There are stories to tell about technology, the Internet, hardware, proprietary medical tech, the connections to OccupyWallStreet and activism, and many other complexities.

Powerful -thanks for posting!
posted by ianhattwick at 10:15 AM on November 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

fucking christ almighty. I hope things start turning around for people on the east coast soon, this situation is out of control.

Thanks for posting this.
posted by jonbro at 3:29 PM on November 2, 2012

And by that I mean... I am really glad to see all these people banding together to keep this guy alive.
posted by jonbro at 3:33 PM on November 2, 2012

Wow, just picturing the logistics and resources are amazing. I do wish people on ventilators gave a shout out for alt power before a storm likely to leave damaged infrastructure for weeks. Great post though.
posted by tatiana131 at 1:07 AM on November 3, 2012

I'm pleased to report that, according to the Google Doc linked in the DO SOME WORK article, power has been restored to Nick & Aleja's building. This does not necessarily mean the crisis is over, as I'm sure they're still facing challenges.

It's a difficult concept for many able-bodied people to understand, but sometimes a hospital is the worst possible place for someone with severe medical problems or many special needs. Because of the rarity of some diseases, hospital staff may not be trained in their particular brand of care. And hospital vents, especially, are not designed for users who are conscious or capable of talking. As a ventilator user and free cripple, I can affirm that Nick's decision to remain in his apartment was not an irrational one.
posted by Soliloquy at 9:23 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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