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Community Care

Care is essential to helping remove barriers that make it difficult for women to participate in civic engagement. Start here – because your well-being and your community's well-being matter!

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Photo of Women gardening in New York City

Care is essential to helping remove barriers that make it difficult for women to participate in civic engagement.

Women are most often the caretakers in their families and workplaces, and face an unequal share of work and caregiving responsibilities. It is exhausting to live amidst systems of oppression like racism, classism, and sexism – and low income communities of color are most negatively impacted.

Trying to combat these systems through activism and ongoing civic engagement can lead to burnout and can take a toll on one’s physical and mental health.

To make room for change, we need to take care of ourselves and each other.
At the most basic level, taking care of ourselves can help improve our overall mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and make us feel better. Encouraging and maintaining well being through collective care can create healthier environments in which civic engagement can thrive. When we take care of ourselves and each other and have our basic needs met, we have more energy, confidence, and capacity to join movements and create change. What’s more, advocating for your individual needs and the needs of your community is a practice of care. Care is a central part of civic engagement.

“When you produce peace and happiness in yourself, you begin to realize peace for the whole world. With the smile that you produce in yourself, with the conscious breathing you establish within yourself, you begin to work for peace in the world.” 

- Thich Nhat Hanh

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is when you take care of  your own physical, emotional, and mental health and well-being. Examples of self-care include going to therapy, exercising, resting, and spending time with friends or family.

For many people – in particular, women, who have many responsibilities and demands in their lives at the same time – taking time for self-care often comes last. When possible, it is important to find ways to make yourself and your needs a priority. It’s easier said than done – not everyone has the same access to the resources and time for self care.

Shifting your focus from self-care to community care can allow you to connect with others and build dependable relationships that everyone is able to benefit from.

What is Community Care?

Community care is about how you support and show up for others. By promoting community well-being, you are helping to create a better environment for everyone to thrive in. Nakita Valerio defines it as “people committed to leveraging their privilege to be there for one another in various ways” and compares it to an extended family.

Examples of community care include:

  • Protests;
  • Food banks and soup kitchens;
  • Interpersonal acts of support and kindness, like texting someone when they need to talk; cooking a meal for a friend who is grieving; or offering to accompany someone to a doctor’s appointment.
  • Organized environments, like support groups, communal homes, and neighborhood groups.


For communities of color, [community care] is especially necessary as we continue to navigate white supremacy in our daily lives…We need a space where we can tap in and receive healing, restorative care and love on each other.”

Donna Oriowo, PhD, LICSW, therapist

Tips for Community and Self Care

One of the most fundamental ways you can mutually support yourself and others in your community is to build a network of people you can trust. When things happen and you need help, you can’t always rely on certain institutions to support you in a timely manner. It is important to tap into your relationships and make connections with the people in your community so you can build a network of support to lean on in times of need.

Below are some strategies for doing this:

  • Create a Phone Tree: Check on neighbors during a disaster, share essential information, or organize your community around a particular issue. Learn how to create one using this resource: Mutual Aid: How to Create a Phone Tree / Pod.
  • Build Your Care Pod: Map out the people that you could call if you need help or support. You can have multiple pods for different purposes like a pod for people you can call for emotional support and/or a pod for those you contact if you experience or witness violence. Get started with your pod map here.
This is an example of a care pod map.
A filled out POD map example from SOIL: A Transformative Justice Project


Curtis, Tiffany. “Community Care — Not Just Self-Care — Is Key to Our Collective Wellbeing.” LIVESTRONG.COM.

Dockray, Heather. “Self-Care Isn’t Enough. We Need Community Care to Thrive.” Mashable.

“Pod Map Worksheets.” SOILTJP.

Further Suggested Reading

Burn brightly, but don’t burn out.

“Taking care of ourselves and having fun in our work for social change are essential to building stronger, more effective, healthier movements.” (Source: Beautiful Trouble)

Joy is a revolutionary force.

“Our journey towards a better world can—and often should—be a nurturing and joyful experience! Find pleasure in the process, as Adrienne Maree Brown said: “Feeling good is not frivolous, It is freedom.” (Source: Beautiful Trouble)

The Nap Ministry

Rest is Resistance. “We examine the liberating power of naps. We believe rest is a form of resistance & reparations.” (Source: Tricia Hersey, The Nap Ministry)

"Community Care — Not Just Self-Care — Is Key to Our Collective Wellbeing"

“Self Care Isn’t Enough – We Need Community Care To Thrive”