“Yes, they were suffering, but we brought the music”: Social toxicity and possibility during the COVID-19 pandemic onset for undocumented and unhoused people


Under a neoliberal regime and a pandemic crisis, social toxicity is expected (Klien, 2008). Yet, social possibility and opportunities for cohesion and collectivism can occur. We discuss how social toxicity and possibility sit side by side during the COVID-19 pandemic with an emphasis on the glimmerings of mutual aid for those who are undocumented and unhoused in Santa Cruz county. Given the stay-at-home orders we, a graduate community psychology class, enacted photovoice online to analyze our context. We discerned a spectrum of possibilities as they coincided with toxicity, We present two examples of how social possibility and toxicity are mixed and two examples of social possibility that include some aspects of mutual aid. These discernments can expand understanding of mutual aid and help the community psychologist know where to apply pressure and how to move forward to work toward social justice

DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v7i1p106

Keywords: COVID-19; neoliberalism; social toxicity; social possibilities


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