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Solutions, Solutions....

One of our more recent workshops revolved around analyzing local examples of the following types of solutions: Band-Aid Remedies, Root Solutions, Charity, and Mutual Aid.


During a discussion with members of the Windham Youth CORE, they pointed out that we see a lot of examples of these types of solutions both in the world at large, and our own community. In this reflection of our workshop, you will see how our youth thought to take on these various types of solutions in the context of our community..


The Analysis


Band-Aid Remedy


One of our youth members pointed out that donating food in order to fight food waste can be interpreted as more of a Band-Aid Solution. The youth elaborated, saying that donating food to soup kitchens and other organizations that could use it is very beneficial to combating food waste and food insecurity, but the reason why it could be less of a Root solution is, for example, a lot of food that is either on the verge of expiration or already expired gets donated and has to be thrown away anyways. Organizations that collect food for these charitable causes are very helpful, but there are definitely other barriers that get in the way of a permanent resolution to food waste.


Another youth pointed out that paid parking garages are more of a Band-Aid solution, with the new garage on Walnut Street, Willimantic, as an example. Parking can be very difficult for people to come by, especially on Main Street. A parking garage is feasibly a good idea, but having people pay for it is not sustainable. There are many residents of Willimantic who either live below the poverty line or are living paycheck-to-paycheck who cannot afford to pay for parking on top of other expenses, so utilizing that parking garage really is not an option for many people and contributes to parking remaining to be a challenge for residents in the community.


Root Solutions


A Root solution that was brought up is one that has not been implemented into our community. The youth expressed great interest in the idea of creating a graduated tax system and taxing the wealthy more than working class people. By doing this instead of taxing working class people, public services such as the Community Center or Parking Garages could be both affordable and equally accessible.


The idea of community budgeting was also brought into the discussion. The general consensus of the youth’s discussion was that they wished they could be more involved in how the Town government decided how to budget and what to do with certain funds. This would be a Root solution because it would allow community members to have more of a say in what happens or what gets built in their own town, so that public resources would be directed toward public priorities


Charity


Examples of charity that the youth thought up were corporations asking customers to donate to a known charity or charitable cause, which is very commonplace. Another example brought up was the popular YouTube celebrity, MrBeast, building wells in Africa recently just before the controversy surrounding that situation was addressed.


Mutual Aid


There were very substantial examples of Mutual Aid within the Windham community brought up during this discussion. Mutual Aid was defined as community members helping each other during a time of need. Charity gives to grand causes and focuses on the big picture, whereas Mutual Aid has a smaller, more intimate and community-based focus. Charity is people helping “others”, while Mutual Aid is a community sustaining itself.


During the pandemic, GROW Windham came to the Thread City Family Garden to find that some tools had been stolen. However, what originally was a very stressful and unfortunate incident resulted in acts of kindness from around the community. Several community members saw our social media posts and donated tools to GROW Windham to use in our garden.


Another youth made a good shout-out to one of our partners, CLiCK, as Mutual Aid. CLiCK provides space to vendors and start-up food-related companies in order to help their business grow and succeed, which is a great example of community members lending a helping hand to each other.


Sustainability and Justice


The discussion concluded with the youth determining which of these solutions were sustainable and what they had to do with justice as a whole. Below are some quotes from the youth regarding these two categories.


Sustainability


“Community budgeting is sustainable since a community naturally is meant to last, and the budgeting would help with correct payments and community bonding.”


“Graduated tax system can be sustained if held up and enforced correctly.”


“MrBeast wouldn’t be sustainable since the wells won’t have any maintenance afterwards.”


“A soup kitchen is a band aid solution, but can be sustained through people.”


Justice


“Taxing the rich is a lot more fair than our current situation.”


“... if we up how much we tax the rich and don’t up how much we tax the poor there would be more money for the community.”


“Taxing the rich is very justified because it helps alleviate poorer communities suffering.”


“Justice fits in the sense that we can all fight for it and obtain it.”


As you can see, the members of the Windham Youth CORE are all full of amazing ideas on what would truly help not just the community, but the world at large.



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