We Need Power to Live

[iD: drawing by Max Airborne of themself with #DisabilityJustice activist Stacey Park, smiling & happy after getting ice cream. Red words say “we need power to live.”]

This week, people who rely on electric power in northern california were forced into a panicked scramble to survive. Folks who need ventilators or CPAP machines, oxygen concentrators to breathe, adjustable beds to prevent pressure wounds, refrigeration for medication. Disabled folks. Fat folks. Poor folks. BIPOC. Folks who can’t afford to lose a freezer/fridge full of costly food.
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Our private energy co, PG&E, decided to shut off power for a million people, to avoid fire caused by unmaintained power lines. The fires they caused last year killed 86 people, and still, instead of fixing power lines, they gave lots of $ to shareholders & exec bonuses, then decided to cut power during the dry season to avoid future liability. 
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Despite a “plan” to cut power, PG&E and local gov’t had no safety plan for people who rely on power to survive. One city official said “maybe go to the emergency room to plug in?” 
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Many folks in disability & fat communities reached out to each other — our own mutual aid networks. Other folks created a mutual aid sheet, and they wanted to support disabled & fat folks. It felt like an important exploration of the cross-movement building we are trying to do as Fat Rose.
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#MutualAid was truly the only help we had. But we felt its limitations as an emergency solution for fat & disabled people. Folks who weren’t familiar with accessibility issues identified their housing as “accessible” without understanding how to determine accessibility. There weren’t nearly enough accessible locations for safe sleeping. For folks who can’t travel, we didn’t have access to enough generators to support them. We know there are so many folks who needed aid but didn’t know how to find it. At least one died. 
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So much work is needed for wider-community mutual aid to include folks at risk — disabled & fat folks, especially who are BIPOC or poor.
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Watching this week play out made it clear how little those in power care about our lives and how much we need to be prepared.

— Max Airborne

#CripMutualAid#FattiesAgainstFascism#NoBodyIsDisposable#WeNeedPowerToLive