Updated: Jun 11, 2020

We’ve compiled a brief list of ways to participate in the Black Lives Matter movement in Athens, Georgia. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the places and things to donate and support. Please continue to share resources as you discover them, and we will update this list as we receive information. AMAN is committed to amplifying voices in the Black community.

Know Your Rights- A brief primer on your rights as a protestor from the ACLU of Georgia

Know Your Rights While Protesting Police Brutality- ACLU of Georgia

How to Protest in a Pandemic- ACLU of Georgia

Athens, GA as of June 11, 2020

· CARS FOR CARE, NOT COPS- Saturday June 13th, at 7pm

· Contact your commissioner and Mayor Girtz asking them to support the 50/10 Transition Plan

· Read about the June 6th rally

· Contact Mayor Kelly Girtz asking him to publicly stand against the use of tear gas from the May 31st rally

Athens, GA as of June 5, 2020

· Donate to the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement Freedom fund for bail relief and legal services

· Follow up from the March for Black Lives Rally Saturday June 6th 2pm @ City Hall in downtown Athens, GA

--> See their recommendations for best-practices and information for immunocompromised people

--> Read the experience of three volunteer medics who were tear-gassed during the non-violent rally Sunday, May 31st

--> Contact Mayor Girtz asking him to condemn the use of tear gas on Athenian protestors

· Sign the Georgia Justice Petition to urge Georgia state legislators to help protect the lives of Black people in our state with three specific actions

--> Text AADM to 31996 for more information

· Contact Mayor Girtz and county commissioners in solidarity with police reform efforts across the country and to pass Commissioner Parker’s and Denson's 10 Year transition plan

Haley DeLoach had plans to finish her master’s thesis research at the Gunung Mulu National Park in the Malaysian State of Sarawak on the island of Borneo – a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its caves and abundance of bats. However, as is all too familiar at this point, Haley’s summer field season was canceled due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). So, Haley has found herself quarantined in Athens, GA with her cat Birdie, her rescue kittens, and a desire to help her Athens community.

Haley heard about volunteer opportunities to deliver groceries to immigrant families in the community through Athens Immigrant Rights Coalition (AIRC) and Dignidad Inmigrante en Athens (DIA). Because undocumented persons are not included in the federal CARES Act, migrant workers and their families are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19 and loss of income. AIRC and DIA have partnered with various organizations and food banks in Athens (and the surrounding area) to provide free grocery deliveries to undocumented families.

I interviewed Haley on her experience working with AIRC and DIA delivering weekly groceries to our immigrant Athens community since the pandemic hit. More information on how to help and volunteer is found below.


Rachel Arney: Can you talk about what an afternoon of volunteering with this program is like? From grocery pick-up to delivery?

Haley DeLoach: Honestly, every day is a little different! The day before, one of the amazing DIA or AIRC organizers sends an email with details about the pick-up and delivery process, and information about the route. There are several pick-up locations depending on the day and time of the scheduled pick-up. Generally, you would drive to the pick-up location where meat, vegetables, grains, and sweets from the food bank are sorted into boxes and loaded into your car. From there, you would drop each box on the doorstep of each household in your route!

RA: What safety precautions are in place to protect both you and the families to whom you deliver?

HD: I always wear a mask and keep hand sanitizer in my car. Everyone working the pick-up locations also wear masks. During deliveries, most of the time no one is home, so it is an easy contact-less delivery. If anyone is home and outside, it’s nice to say hello to families while making sure to stay at least 6 feet apart.

RA: What was the shortest time it took you and the longest? To how many families have you delivered?

HD: Phew. Once it took me a whopping 4 1/2 hours from pick-up to delivery for 10 houses. The Food Bank truck was late, then Google Maps took me to wrong places, and it was sometimes difficult to find house numbers to know if I was delivering to the right places. The shortest time it took me was 1.5 hours. Addresses were easy to find, and I even got repeat houses from previous weeks.

RA: Do you feel the process is more streamlined as time has progressed?

HD: Yes! Every time a volunteer goes to a particular address and it was difficult to find, the volunteer can give information about the house to the organizers to add to notes for the next person who delivers to that house.

RA: What is the most difficult part of deliveries?

HD: Definitely finding some of the houses, but the DIA/AIRC organizers are always close to their phones so you can call or text them if you need help finding an address. Also, sometimes boxes are REALLY heavy! One day each box was 120 lbs. and filled my car to the roof! It really felt great to be able to deliver all that food, though.

RA: Any funny anecdotes?

HD: My first day I didn’t realize until the end of my route that they accidentally gave me 11 boxes even though I only needed 10. So, I saved the non-perishables for the next week’s deliveries. However, I needed to get rid of the meat, so the final 2-person household on my route ended up with 2 whole chickens, 6 chicken burgers, and around 2 dozen drumsticks. I hope they like chicken!

How to help:

If you or anyone you know is interested in volunteering, please sign up here Donations can be made via Venmo @AthensImmigrantRightsCoalition

*Rachel is a PhD student in Integrative Conservation and Geography at the University of Georgia and a volunteer with Athens Mutual Aid Network.

  • Mikaela Warner

You might be familiar with Athens Mutual Aid Network (AMAN), but what is mutual aid?

Mutual aid is a community taking care of each other. Have you delivered extra toilet paper to your elderly neighbor? Have you cooked meals for a friend who just became a parent? You have participated in mutual aid!

Since humans have existed, we have always survived together. Mutual aid's goal is to make sure everyone has their human needs met, including food, shelter, safety, healthcare, education, social engagement, and emotional support. American humanist psychologist and theorist Abraham Maslow, defined a useful way to think about our human needs, beginning with needs that mutual aid serves.

No one person can do everything to meet these needs. We need farmers, teachers, construction workers, therapists, chefs, childcare professionals, and more. When we work together, we collectively have the skills and resources to meet everyone's needs. Everyone has something to offer and everyone is an important part of our community.

Mutual aid is difficult to implement on a large scale because we are increasingly being separated from one another. Many of us feel isolated from our community. Getting help from government institutions or charities can be frustrating. Intense red tape and paperwork is exhausting and ultimately many people fall through the cracks of the current system. The goal of mutual aid to care for everyone including those that are incarcerated, undocumented, un-housed, disabled, provide sex-work, or struggle with addiction.

When everyone in our community is cared for, we thrive as a community. We learn better; we are kinder and more productive; and we feel more fulfilled in our lives. As Paul Wellstone said,

"We all do better when we all do better."

An essential part of mutual aid is that it is mutual. That means everyone gives the help they can and receives the help they need. Mutual aid is not charity or top-down. Mutual aid is about all of us helping each other because we all need each other. While each person's needs and contributions might be different, we are all equally a part of mutual aid.

If you don't like the term "mutual aid" that's ok! Some people call it solidarity, direct aid, or just being a good member of our community. The terminology doesn't matter, your participation does.

What is Athens Mutual Aid Network?

AMAN is a coalition of a lot of organizations who have already been doing the work of mutual aid. These are immigrant rights organizations, racial justice organizations, LGBTQ+ organizations, unions, and political groups. AMAN connects and amplifies these groups in response to the increasing community needs in the wake of this pandemic. AMAN shares resources, volunteers, funds, and coordinated action to support our community.

How can I participate? Here are just a few ways to share in mutual aid:

  1. Give funds. If you have steady income right now, helping out your neighbors who don't is a huge help. Venmo @mutualaidathens and find updates on those funds here.

  2. Be a driver. If you have a car, you can help out by delivering food and supplies or giving rides to neighbors who can't drive. Volunteer to help un(der) documented and elderly neighbors.

  3. Volunteer your skills through the Athens Mutual Aid hotline! AMAN needs all types of people with all types of skills. Volunteer how you can best here.

  4. You can also sign up for volunteer opportunities listed under Athens Help with COVID, a partnership with New Haven Help with COVID

  5. Look up volunteer, job, and mutual aid opportunities at Idealist Mutual Aid.Athens Mutual Aid is already signed up! We're hoping to populate volunteer opportunities soon.

  6. Sign up as a regional volunteer with COVAID.

Want to learn more about mutual aid? Check out a panel by the American Studies Association about mutual aid movements across the country in the context of Covid-19.

© 2020 Alden DiCamillo