11 neighbors in the lefty Eastlake United for Justice group (EUJ) took a free 2.5-hour home safety and disaster preparedness class, CORE I, led by a lovely geologist named Jerry.
We want to improve our disaster readiness in light of the overdue earthquake anticipated to hit the San Francisco Bay Area any day now. This training covered a lot of ground — safety plans, evacuation strategies, gas and electric, water, food, and more. The basic premise is that we should be prepared, in the event of an earthquake or major disaster, to survive for 7 to 10 days with no running water, cell phones, or electricity.
Our larger vision is to support a culture in which neighbors reach out to each other for safety and support, instead of police, since police make things more dangerous.
EastlakeUnited for Justice – Group Intention
Our Neighborhood group initially came together with the intention of building neighborhood relationships, creating neighborhood security and alternatives to policing and surveillance, supporting individual families/households in preparing for emergencies and creating a network of mutual support with immediate neighbors in case of any emergency (fire, earthquake, storm, street violence, etc.) and prevent gentrification and displacement. We also have the intention of forming sub-working groups for neighborhood scale projects such as guerrilla gardening, advocating for affordable housing restoration, organizing cultural events, etc.We believe that all ecological and social problems stem from our profit-based economic system as well as the forms of discrimination that support it, and that organizing people into collective action to meet their needs and improve the conditions of their lives is one of the most critical and inspiring ways to build a just, safe and beautiful life for everyone.
Who should participate in the EUJ neighbor group?
Our neighborhood group seeks to cultivate neighborhood-level relationships between people who share our intention and believe left politics and political change is needed and important in our communities. Our group is for people who live in the EastLake Neighborhood, broadly defined as the area on the East Side of Lake Merritt.Examples of issues our group has discussed and/or worked on in the past include: emergency preparedness, guerrilla gardening, gentrification, and policing. We encourage people to bring new ideas to the group and hope to discuss a range of issues impacting the EastLake area through a shared, left perspective and intention.
My name is Elena Rose, and in this context I am a working priestess and community organizer — particularly coming in as a member of the Board of the Solar Cross Temple.
(Edited for clarity)
Lightning Bolt: What is Pantheacon?
It’s a large, interreligious conference that’s mostly pagans, polytheists and witches, and a lot of folks from the African Diaspora and indigenous religions, also.
What’s your role in the conference this year?
I’m hosting the hospitality suite for people of color, as well as convening a caucus of practitioners of color for conversation, and leading some anti-racist work in the form of workshops and in the form of ritual.
How are you doing readiness and preparedness for Pantheacon?
6 of us gathered at someone’s home, with one person connecting in via video chat, to have a conversation about disabled access to the movement.
Bouncing off of “A Nervous Wreck’s Disabled Guide to Stepping Up,” by Madison Mahdia Lynn, we did an exercise together to map our skills, our limitations, communities we want to support, and communities we are connected to. Looking at our maps, we tried to recognize and articulate what we are already doing and create new frameworks for further action.
We discussed the fact that many people seem to be thinking of mass protests as “the movement,” seemingly without any understanding of what movement organizing is, and the long-term relationship building that creates a movement.
We asked “What is THE MOVEMENT, anyway?” When social justice groups aren’t talking about disability or connecting with disability justice, are we part of the same movement?
Tiny Acres Lightning Bolt crew did a self-defense skillshare. Rachel, who has been part of Girl Army, taught us about various pressure points on the body you can aim for to defend against an attacker, boundary setting, and finding the way to defend yourself that is most accessible and natural for your body and position. Self defense is for every body!
Our household hosts a weekly open dinner for our various communities. These dinners are meant to provide a regular space to be together as we are: Bring food or not, according to your desire and ability. There is always enough. Check in about how you’re doing, for real. A sacred space for sharing connection, laughter, ideas, food, stories, nourishment, support. A community refuge. A place to build and strengthen our support network, and to be ourselves, together.
Sometimes someone will pose a question as a way to focus and deepen the conversation. This week, after the intensity of MLK weekend, the inauguration of a fascist into the US presidency, and days of protests here and across the world, we decided to make the theme more intentional in advance: Refuge & Resistance (h/t to Buddhist Peace Fellowship).