Roundtable 1

Research roundtable

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Roundtable 1 by Mind Map: Roundtable 1

1. Respective roles

1.1. vertical vs horizontal

1.1.1. because institutionalized disaster response is more top to bottom in, like civic responses as from bottom to top. So people are tempted like regard it as a two different thing. But, although it can be like, it can complement each other because they have like different benefits

1.2. Horizontal value

1.2.1. Existing social fabric

1.2.2. presence, persistence, continuity

1.2.2.1. how people are organizing in these groups to promote more like social-justice-driven initiatives for long term, like solutions, such as there's people in the group who met each other that are now running for government positions and their local governments to try to facilitate change.

1.2.2.2. experience

1.2.2.2.1. even though the organization itself has tremendous experience, the people who are on scene may not

1.2.2.3. knowledge

1.2.2.3.1. that people that are in a position of responsibility, went through the last one, are home, retired or moved or gone

1.2.2.3.2. who have left and not happening enough in institutions, but in communities, that kind of knowledge, is, the continuity is very important

1.2.2.4. relationships

1.2.2.4.1. exist in the community, in many cases

1.2.2.4.2. emphasis on relationship building, and how important it is to keep those relationships active. Especially around things like training and different people's specializations. So that you know, when the disaster strikes, people can call in the right folks.

1.2.2.4.3. mutual aid organizations, and it seems like, in places with a strong activist network, that was like pre-existing COVID, they had an easier time initiating mutual aid, and more people were familiar with what it is

1.2.2.4.4. it was a it was a combination of relationships that were foreseen at the national level by people who planned it 10 years ago. And the point is that we never tried to do that at the national level. But it worked at the local level, in very small county, 33,000 people

1.2.2.4.5. relationships and connections and the barriers that's been their power structure

1.2.2.5. what areas and which groups should be temporary versus for long term. So for places like Puerto Rico, where where I'm working at, there are lots of groups that they turn from emergent groups and kind of grew into more permanent groups because the risk of disaster is recurrent, and also recovery is long term, and that the ability for the government to provide for them is, does not very much exist.

1.2.3. local agency, autonomy, self-determination

1.2.3.1. those local groups are critical elements in this because otherwise, the recovery may be a cookie cutter one, determined by people well beyond the community who already have visions for what a recovered community would look like.

1.2.3.2. the agency of the communities that have been affected. So if there are ones that can be easily ignored, then they are in charge of their own recovery. If they're the ones who are able to mobilize, and become a disruptive force for good, then they may be able to influence the institutions

1.2.3.3. one is helping local residents have a voice in both the immediate short term recovery and processes, the long term planning processes

1.2.3.4. those local groups are critical elements in this because otherwise, the recovery may be a cookie cutter one, determined by people well beyond the community who already have visions for what a recovered community would look like.

1.2.3.5. one is helping local residents have a voice in both the immediate short term recovery and processes, the long term planning processes. And that's going to be helping sort of horizontal ties

1.2.4. in the absence of a coordinated federal response, I know that a lot of counties or states sort of took over or local organizations

2. Conclusion

2.1. Both

2.1.1. is it that the narrative is different, ie that the story that we're telling about what is happening is more accurate, or the actual way things are going is changing

2.1.2. Ecosystem narrative

2.2. Cooperation vs collaboration

2.2.1. Not one answer, spectrum

2.3. Key opportunities

2.4. Key challenges

2.4.1. Research divided

3. Both new narrative and reflection of reality

3.1. New narrative or adjustment?

3.1.1. is it that the narrative is different, ie that the story that we're telling about what is happening is more accurate, or the actual way things are going is changing

3.1.2. Always been there

3.1.2.1. is it true now that, for example, top down disaster institutions are recognizing the role of local communities, neighborhoods and NGOs, or rather that the story that we're telling now is bringing back into the reality, what was always there, that disaster response has been about emerging groups, local volunteers, neighbors, helping neighbors. And I think, you know, for me watching the COVID response across the world, I think it can be, it sounds more like the narratives, finally capturing what's actually happening on the ground.

3.1.3. But not accepted/recognized

3.1.3.1. Hurricane Andrew, I was part of the work with the Red Cross by that point, and they just walked away from working with emerging groups that, and it still exists today. And they're still not working with the Red Cross.

3.2. reality

3.2.1. more and more, they have realized that these groups are needed, that they are the heart of the response to whatever event it is, depending on the location, there are different capabilities.

3.3. perceptions

4. Systemic differences

4.1. timelines

4.1.1. they don't want anything to do, because they actually get burned out. If you look at the large organizations, and you go to the field and you interview them, two weeks later on, you come and the entire team have been changed. But this small organization, they don't have that capacity. So that person is stuck on that activity for for months. And, and they may not do it again. So we need to find a way that if we need them, how we teach them that this is, this this is what they're getting into, if they want to go to be an emergent organization. Because, in most cases, the small, the need, the initial need, may have a huge jump, then it kind of tampers down, and then we'll get kind of a, it doesn't need to be the longer term recovery aspect of the face

4.1.2. The Red Cross just didn't see it as part of their, this was the disaster responders, "Our time is up, we're pulling out, it's your problem now."

4.1.3. you came in with your experts. Your local people were pushed aside, they did what they usually did. And then when you moved out, there really wasn't any continuing process

4.1.4. as you move away from the event that you're responding to, it becomes more relationship building and less skill to skill development

4.1.5. hearing a lot about institutions going in, doing their thing, which might be great, and then pulling out and leaving a void in their wake that is as bad a disaster as the original disaster. So that pulling away should include a systematic handoff for to local groups that are there, or a systematic campaign to produce a local response that might not have happened already

4.1.6. the participation rate is kind of like waning down because this is such a long haul disaster.

4.1.7. Some of them had specifically mentioned that that the activity in the group evolves as the perceived infection rate is like evolving. So like as cases get worse, more people are in the group, you know, "Oh, things are easing up," okay, people leave it alone. But also, you know, it kind of goes with like the COVID waves, but it also goes with how much money people have at their expense. So for example, when stimulus check goes out, the group activity dies down, when stimulus money runs out, everyone's back

4.1.8. if someone just happens to be in the right place at the right time, and they perform whatever they need to do. And then once the crisis has passed, do those groups need to be integrated into part of a larger framework? Or is their function just to emerge in that time, and then to dissipate after the crisis is over?

4.1.9. one of the possibly mistaken assumptions I often hear is the assumption that it should be the same people, that it needs to be the same people. We've had some emergent response, "Oh, now, you need to become a stable organization and regularize," where the fact is that initial organization, first of all, it's not the same skills. It's not the same kind of people. It's like a startup, the transition, that corporate startup. It's a different set of people, often management, everything changes out when you grow, and you become a stable organization. So it's not necessarily, the entrepreneur doesn't stay with the effort long term. So recognizing that, maybe it's helping the organization transition, or recognizing that it hat just has to, if the need is still there, it has to be absorbed by an existing organization, some other organization.

4.1.10. Some of them had specifically mentioned that that the activity in the group evolves as the perceived infection rate is like evolving. So like as cases get worse, more people are in the group, you know, "Oh, things are easing up," okay, people leave it alone. But also, you know, it kind of goes with like the COVID waves, but it also goes with how much money people have at their expense. So for example, when stimulus check goes out, the group activity dies down, when stimulus money runs out, everyone's back

4.1.11. as the need, as both the needs change, and as, as the situation changes, especially with the emergent responders, they have to go, they go, things go, normalize, they have to go back to work, they don't have the time that they had right after the event. And that's where it has to transition into a more sustainable response.

4.1.12. skills vs relationships

4.1.12.1. as you move away from the event that you're responding to, it becomes more relationship building and less skill to skill development. You're building, building and supporting relationships that live on is a critical, critical response and recovery role

4.1.12.2. top-down bottom-up profile changes over over time. And with that change, that change comes with the I think, we've, Jack brought in, the talk about the skills versus relationships. Is this a skill space? Do we have a skills-based response needs? Or is it relationship building, where some of those skills that Tiffany started bringing in was the skills of relationship building?

4.1.13. the time spectrum, where, on the initial early stages, you do need that emergent response. There's an institutionalized response, that may or may not happen. Then that, as time goes on, the institutional comes in. And that's where we have this need to integrate, and bridging and then on long term, it may need, for many organizations it needs to transition back to local more local responsibility. Which may be a continuation of emergent, it may be pre-existing organizations that take over, however that happens

4.1.14. one of the possibly mistaken assumptions I often hear is the assumption that it should be the same people, that it needs to be the same people. We've had some emergent response, "Oh, now, you need to become a stable organization and regularize," where the fact is that initial organization, first of all, it's not the same skills. It's not the same kind of people. It's like a startup, the transition, that corporate startup. It's a different set of people, often management, everything changes out when you grow, and you become a stable organization. So it's not necessarily, the entrepreneur doesn't stay with the effort long term. So recognizing that, maybe it's helping the organization transition, or recognizing that it hat just has to, if the need is still there, it has to be absorbed by an existing organization, some other organization.

4.1.15. when people want their trucks back that they loaned the responders and everything. When you start actually counting your resources and pulling them out

4.1.16. although there were some groups that said like, "We're going to continue doing this kind of initiative of helping each other, even after COVID," there were some other like organizers saying like, we had we, even during COVID, like we had trouble because the participation rate is kind of like waning down because this is such a long haul disaster.

4.2. money

4.2.1. If money is coming from from the central government or other governments, can, who helps prioritize and ensures the spread of money around these various organizations corresponds to the needs.

4.2.2. The funding stream for emergent groups also creates a a competitive environment on the ground, in a place where you really are, changing the narrative, you'd like that to be a collaborative, reasonably funded effort

4.2.3. most people are not getting paid doing what they do. And a lot of the people I worked with in Puerto Rico, they had to stop doing that, because they couldn't provide a living for themselves

4.2.4. If money is coming from from the central government or other governments, can, who helps prioritize and ensures the spread of money around these various organizations corresponds to the needs. What's interesting in natural disasters that doesn't typically happen, the money flows in kind of a random way from random sources. And a technological disaster like Deepwater Horizon, where you can sue the cause of the disaster for a billion dollars, then you have money to actually support a lot of these emergent groups, and in the Gulf of Mexico, you can contrast the emerging groups from Katrina with emergent groups that came out of Deepwater Horizon. It's two very different trajectories. You have one starts with no money, and one starts with a billion dollars,

4.3. professional vs emergent

4.3.1. professional groups that come in, volunteers or government or international, have a task of being disciplined and trained and structured. At the same time, when they get into the environment, they're faced with a very evolving local emerging group aspect. And they have to be simultaneously disciplined enough to do what they do. But agile enough to expand what they do and recognize what they're not able to do

4.3.2. most people are not getting paid doing what they do. And a lot of the people I worked with in Puerto Rico, they had to stop doing that, because they couldn't provide a living for themselves. And there's so much work in community organizing

4.3.3. And there are other organizers and mutual aid groups who were just like, "No, what, we don't do cash, we just don't do cash, we don't want to deal with it. Because then we have to be accountable to it,

4.4. expectations

4.4.1. what areas and which groups should be temporary versus for long term. So for places like Puerto Rico, where where I'm working at, there are lots of groups that they turn from emergent groups and kind of grew into more permanent groups because the risk of disaster is recurrent, and also recovery is long term, and that the ability for the government to provide for them is, does not very much exist.

4.5. media

4.5.1. media attention has actually led to issues around organizations not collaborating, because more media attention has led to more resources for some. So, from a donor perspective, organizations, they want more funding. Also, sometimes that's led to a disincentive for collaboration, which is a problem.

4.5.2. media question, I think it's also they are a major stakeholder in disaster response, and crisis management. Because they, I mean, media also wants to attract viewers, and they may only concentrate in one part of the response, the one that attracts viewers to something that is happening. And there may be organizations that are acting or places that didn't get that much coverage. I think we we cannot, we have many, many, many different stakeholders in disasters. in disaster response or crisis management.

4.5.3. media attention has actually led to issues around organizations not collaborating, because more media attention has led to more resources for some. So, from a donor perspective, organizations, they want more funding

4.5.4. As soon as the media loses interest, there is no more money. Well, there's still some some efforts

4.6. politics

4.6.1. there is, ups and downs, politically.

4.6.2. I was at the Center for Disease Control at a scientific advisory group. And I was on that for a couple of years. And the task of, our task was reviewing the preparations. And their their multimillion dollar operations center, and, the framework, they fully expected in a pandemic, that they would be operationally controlling the public health response in the United States. When it occurred, they were unplugged. It just didn't happen

4.6.3. they fully expected in a pandemic, that they would be operationally controlling the public health response in the United States. When it occurred, they were unplugged. It just didn't happen

4.7. resources

4.7.1. we are fortunate to have a emergency manager who's retired from the state, state emergency manager. So this little county has a highly skilled guy who put together for COVID, a response, which I said the one voice response for the county

4.7.2. And they were like, yeah, “You know, what, we're two people that are very, you know, interested in, you know, activism and making the community a better place. However, we're very surrounded by a bunch of people who don't understand us.” So there was a lot more education going into, "What is mutual aid?"

4.7.3. And that those later on impact, those cascading effects, really still required these organizations to be on the field. But they may not be anymore because they were burned out in the initial phase of the disaster response

4.8. risk

4.8.1. And who you support and who you tell, "No, that's dangerous." All the ideas that you hear are not good ones

5. Challenges to narrative reform

5.1. understanding

5.1.1. the time spectrum, where, on the initial early stages, you do need that emergent response. There's an institutionalized response, that may or may not happen. Then that, as time goes on, the institutional comes in. And that's where we have this need to integrate, and bridging and then on long term, it may need, for many organizations it needs to transition back to local more local responsibility. Which may be a continuation of emergent, it may be pre-existing organizations that take over, however that happens.

5.1.2. And so there might be two or a continuum of different abilities here. And a different willingness of institutions to listen

5.1.3. hearing a lot about institutions going in, doing their thing, which might be great, and then pulling out and leaving a void in their wake that is as bad a disaster as the original disaster. So that pulling away should include a systematic handoff for to local groups that are there, or a systematic campaign to produce a local response that might not have happened already

5.2. perception

5.2.1. The Red Cross just didn't see it as part of their, this was the disaster responders, "Our time is up, we're pulling out, it's your problem now."

5.2.2. that narrative being that institutions do not own the emergency, do not own the crisis, they do not own the cordon, and, and that we need to think about how we can involve communities much more strongly in that.

5.2.3. But what about those responses that start spontaneously, and are functioning, and work differently from the main response system? They don't necessarily, should they be integrated across the cordon?

5.3. trust

5.3.1. that is a challenge a lot of the people I've interviewed brought up. Some of them are like, we want absolutely nothing to do with a nonprofit, we think they're terrible, they don't help us. You know, here's some examples of how they didn't help, in the past

5.3.2. And responders struggle to have confidence that community resilience is clear and present

5.4. open-mindedness

5.4.1. The Red Cross just didn't see it as part of their, this was the disaster responders, "Our time is up, we're pulling out, it's your problem now."

5.4.2. then the locals take over, and then so the question is, is there has there been any transition to the local organizations?

5.5. competition

5.5.1. particularly once you get to six months to a year out, resources are drying up. And then in the emerging groups that come out and local groups are competing with, competing with national groups for available funding

6. Integration vs independence

6.1. Benefits of integration

6.1.1. trust

6.1.1.1. But if the risk message comes from within the community, it's listened to more than it is if it comes from outside the community

6.1.1.2. People need to trust somebody, or we want to trust somebody. Initially, it's easier to trust somebody that is part of our of my own social fabric, my own community

6.1.1.3. People need to trust somebody, or we want to trust somebody. Initially, it's easier to trust somebody that is part of our of my own social fabric, my own community

6.1.1.4. But if the risk message comes from within the community, it's listened to more than it is if it comes from outside the community. And one of the things you can do with these emerging groups is educate them to make sure they're aware of why they need to still be in existence basically.

6.1.1.5. places where there's a lot of, you know, conflicts and historical issues between residents, and governments. But then, the government and the big entities have the money

6.1.1.6. these emerging groups can help with is educating and changing the risk perception of the general population.

6.1.2. continuity

6.1.3. information

6.1.3.1. They can also do services for civic society and doing in different type of crisis, keeping calm, giving information. And also something that we have been looking at is how they can help in the optimal allocation of resources, especially scarce resources in disaster response

6.1.3.2. they are one of the critical sources of information during the disaster response, connecting the knowledge, or the lack of knowledge, from the incoming and external organizations to the community

6.1.3.3. They can also do services for civic society and doing in different type of crisis, keeping calm, giving information. And also something that we have been looking at is how they can help in the optimal allocation of resources, especially scarce resources in disaster response

6.1.4. connectivity

6.1.4.1. connecting people to each other in local communities, to help each other on a very like person to person basis. As well as connecting people to nonprofits that can help them, with things such as rent relief for, you know, food or whatever. But also looking at how people are organizing in these groups to promote more like social-justice-driven initiatives for long term, like solutions, such as there's people in the group who met each other that are now running for government positions and their local governments to try to facilitate change

6.1.5. not damaging social fabric further

6.1.5.1. , those local groups are critical elements in this because otherwise, the recovery may be a cookie cutter one, determined by people well beyond the community who already have visions for what a recovered community would look like.

6.2. Reasons for independence

6.2.1. FEMA or any other organization is overwhelmed by the number of people who show up at your door with a, with a good idea or a good resource, we can do this

6.2.2. places where there's a lot of, you know, conflicts and historical issues between residents, and governments.

6.2.3. . But what about those responses that start spontaneously, and are functioning, and work differently from the main response system? They don't necessarily, should they be integrated across the cordon?

6.2.4. is there a right for grassroot crisis response to emerge and do their thing, and a need to support them in the way they need to work, and how they need to emerge? And then think about how do we support them, work with them, and possibly help them, that effort transition into the more integrated response at a later point. But I'm still hearing that, how do we absorb, the starting point is, "We need to integrate them."

6.2.5. Hurricane Andrew, I was part of the work with the Red Cross by that point, and they just walked away from working with emerging groups that, and it still exists today. And they're still not working with the Red Cross. They actually formed in the Red Cross conference room, we got the people together, that were working on various recovery issues. And they said, "No, we'll do it ourselves."

6.2.6. But what about those responses that start spontaneously, and are functioning, and work differently from the main response system? They don't necessarily, should they be integrated across the cordon? Do they have to be? Do they want to be?

6.2.7. And there are other organizers and mutual aid groups who were just like, "No, what, we don't do cash, we just don't do cash, we don't want to deal with it. Because then we have to be accountable to it,

6.2.8. there are some capabilities from this group that we don't want to constrain. And those are the constraints that the larger organizations may have

6.3. Downsides of independence

6.3.1. at the same time, this lack of standardization is one of the risks of the grassroots efforts, because we can have a different behaviors of people have we we have seen really good ones, and we have seen not that so good ones

7. Opportunities

7.1. So we need to find a way that if we need them, how we teach them that this is, this this is what they're getting into, if they want to go to be an emergent organization

7.2. educate, institutionalize, our institutions, and also potential grassroots organizations to what it actually takes to be working together in disasters

7.3. teachable moment

7.3.1. there's a period after an event and you're into the recovery phase, you're really but you're still in the teachable moment, actually, where you can educate.

7.3.2. It's a teachable moment with a willing audience. And those two things don't exist in parallel very often and unfortunately, in the formal response organizations, at that point, are more interested in packing up and getting home and accounting for resources and and doing the administrative work. And that teachable moments just get by them.

7.3.3. that the teachable moment for the community, but also for the institutional, formal response systems, where is that opportunity to help them learn to integrate and work with the emergent responses in future events?

7.3.4. We cannot teach people to swim when the boat is sinking. We need to do it well well in advance,

7.3.5. When the cameras are on. As soon as the media loses interest, there is no more money. Well, there's still some some efforts, but but people is, is highly, we can be bashed by what what is portrayed on the media. If we have two disasters going on at the same time, and only one of them is being covered? That's where people feel connected to

7.3.6. How do we generate, create the teachable moments in advance? And I think, Miguel, you're absolutely right, if you can, if you can engage the media in creating those, in creating that moment.

7.3.7. this is an opportunity for us to change that narrative now. So that we don't fall back to our old narrative of where is the cordon

7.3.8. It's a teachable moment with a willing audience. And those two things don't exist in parallel very often and unfortunately, in the formal response organizations, at that point, are more interested in packing up and getting home and accounting for resources and and doing the administrative work. And that teachable moments just get by them

7.4. priming

7.4.1. of these groups, and learned a little bit about like kind of what they initially were all about, kind of like those immediate needs that were trying to serve. As far as like getting people information and making sure people who had lost their jobs were equipped with food and that type of thing, to now shifting towards this kind of like long term or like social-justice-driven response, which I think is addressing like a different part of the disaster. So initially, it was addressing the very immediate part, you know, when everything was unknown, and now I feel like it's addressing more of a, like, social-equality disaster, whereas the COVID-19 pandemic, like really made visible a lot of needs that were already there and really affected people who were already in a precarious position even more so.

7.4.2. I think that the groups were able to bring in people who hadn't been part of mutual aid before. So I think in areas where there was more activism, more social activism already, it took on like, this different flavor, maybe. And, you know, it was open to anyone who wanted to join. But there was also a very, like, strong undercurrent of, like social justice initiatives. So you know, getting at kind of maybe more of the root cause of why, you know, you may need food or why you don't have a place to live, or you lost your job or whatever.

7.5. having people who are tasked with that, as a formal responsibility to track the local emerging groups and experts and structure that, as we all know, these groups that form in a time of disaster

7.6. there has to be a quick way to evaluate, and dismiss or encourage what's going on. And typically is a very ad hoc thing. It's a tricky part of the formal structure.

8. Two narratives

8.1. Narrative of integration

8.1.1. Cordon

8.1.1.1. you came in with your experts. Your local people were pushed aside, they did what they usually did. And then when you moved out, there really wasn't any continuing process

8.1.1.2. the current narrative was very much around, we need to keep volunteers behind a cordon, and that cordon, on one side is the public side, and on the other side is the side for emergency responders

8.1.1.3. I think one of the things that we have been struggling for many years is to, to make organizations understand that, basically, none of them can do this alone. And all of them will require the support, even if that support is coming, kind of, on the, under the table, is not being acknowledged, is not covered by the media. But a lot of people kind of survive a crisis by these grassroots efforts that nobody's logging, and that nobody's probably, and we don't have enough people to interview all these, all these grassroots efforts. But they are needed, because we have done the math. And even the most powerful organization, the largest organization won't be able to to support alone, what is needed in a crisis event. So we need to teach everyone well in advance that this is going to be a need to to survive the next crisis.

8.1.2. Circulatory system

8.1.2.1. And we always look about the blood system, or, or the circulatory system where we have the large organizations, bringing all the blood, but all these grass roots efforts being the capillary vessels, that goes everywhere.

8.1.2.2. it sounds like there's this cordon that Duncan was talking about preventing this interaction between the vessels and capillaries. How do you break that down in terms of crisis response, and capitalize on local knowledge?

8.2. Ecosystem narrative