Sunnyside & Woodside Mutual Aid (SWMA) is a group of neighbors acting collectively to address community needs and take care of each other. We value care and support community-based action outside of existing structures of governments, electoral politics, and charities. We acknowledge and sometimes collaborate with the many existing communities and organizations that call Sunnyside and Woodside home. We strive to embody the spirit of solidarity in everything we do.
We embrace these guiding principles in pursuit of our mission:
We live these values by:
We are curious, open, and constructive: In order to care for our community we must begin by treating one another with respect. Given our varied backgrounds, we recognize we speak from our own experience without a patronizing or managerial tone. We know that the diversity of our perspectives are invaluable for our work. In cases of conflict or misunderstanding, we seek to clarify without becoming defensive.
We take space and make space: We are aware of how much time we speak so as not to monopolize the conversation. If our perspective is one characterized by privilege, we yield the floor to people whose voices are not always heard and for anyone for whom a decision holds the greatest impact.
We say what we would like to see: We are all welcome and encouraged to share thoughts and ideas, but our goal is to constructively identify solutions rather than dwell on what's not working or place blame. If we want to put forth an issue we have recognized, we consider ways to put in the foreground what we would like to see, even if we don't yet know the exact solutions.
We know our capacity: Our goal is to sustainably work together and deliver on our promises, not burn out and resort to scarcity mentalities. We do so through horizontal (shoulder-to-shoulder) relationships instead of top-down ones. Our first step before committing to action or starting a project is to check in with ourselves and our group’s bandwidth.
We all take responsibility for keeping things running: No one person is responsible for facilitating meetings, note taking, timekeeping, or replying to emails. We are all accountable for making sure that our group operates with accountability, clarity, and respect for people’s time. We bring questions to the group whenever possible, rather than to one other person.
We are welcoming: While our goal is not to grow solely for the sake of numbers, we recognize the value of new perspectives and make a concerted effort to welcome new members. We share background on topics when they come up in discussion and explain terms and acronyms that might be unfamiliar. We strive for inclusivity and transparency, and we only restrict access to information or platforms when privacy is a concern.