Cartoonist Sally Campbell Galman: The helpers among us

Published: 3/19/2020 9:31:20 AM

Editor’s note: Over the next week, the Gazette will feature the work of cartoonist Sally Campbell Galman, who has been collecting stories from the Valley and beyond of “the helpers,” or people doing everyday good things.

In difficult and disorienting times, it can be healing to hear stories of the good in the world, the good people, the helpers and the heroes among us, quietly doing the work of getting us through, day in and day out. And not only do these stories give us hope, they also do what stories and storytellers have done since there were stories to tell: They sustain us, and keep us together.

As Anne Lamott writes in “Bird by Bird,” “Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

So here are some songs in the tune of hope. I believe that art heals, so I’ve been collecting and illustrating stories about the people out there doing an array of “amazing acts of social solidarity” (@mattdpearce) big and small in the Valley and beyond. I’ll be sharing these in coming issues of the Gazette.

If you have a story to share, please send it to We can’t stop the storm, but we can sing loud. Let’s get on with it.

Sally Campbell Galman, of Amherst, an award-winning newspaper cartoonist and a pre-K-6 teacher, is a professor at UMass, where she does arts- and comics-based research. Learn more at

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