Community Agreements

last updated: March 24, 2018

These agreements set necessary boundaries for our shared space. We ask all attendees to strive to continually bring themselves into alignment with these agreements. If we (the organizers) feel that any participant is persistently not behaving according to these agreements, we will ask them to leave.

Tools and tips for following these agreements are in the Safe(r) Spaces Tools and Resources.

Expect and accept non-closure *

We won’t get to the ‘answer’ or the ‘solution’ in our time together. We recognize that our desire to achieve a solution is one way whiteness shows up and keeps us from engaging with each other. This work is ongoing and we will continue to work toward our vision even after we leave here. We can expect things to be messy and complex.

Speak my truth responsibly *

How, when, and why we say something all have impacts on those around us. We speak only about our individual truth and not in broad generalities. (Example: “I like chocolate.” vs “All women like chocolate.”)

For white attendees, if a facilitator or POC gives you feedback that you’ve spoken your truth in a way that is out of alignment to this agreement, we ask you to accept this feedback and then, if need be, seek support (from our support staff or a trusted friend). Do not ask for support from a POC, especially one you do not know! We suggest part of this support looks like figuring out how you come back into alignment with this agreement.

Listen to understand *

We listen to hear what is being said and not what we’re looking for. We assume we don’t know the answer or what the other person is about to say. Listening to understand, rather than to respond, gives us the opportunity to learn something new and build relationship with those around us.

Confidentiality *

What’s learned here leaves, and what’s said here stays. To this end, no photography is allowed in the space (except there will be an opportunity to be part of a group photo at the end of the workshop day on Saturday).

Learn to do things differently — be willing to experience discomfort *

We are all here because we acknowledge the way things are isn’t how we’d like them to be. This process is challenging and requires that we learn to see and do things differently — which is uncomfortable. One way whiteness shows up is to look away when we are experiencing discomfort — and to disengage when we are told ‘no. By being here we agree to show up for this process and bring ourselves back when we notice we’ve become distracted.

Stay engaged *

We make choices about how to meet our needs that enable us to stay engaged with the material and the weekend. In order to enable our brains and bodies to be fully engaged for the transformational work happening, we encourage all of us to be mindful of our use of recreational drugs, technology, and other potentially distracting activities during the weekend. We each consider whether or not doing so adds or detracts from our ability to be present. We choose to be curious about what we are experiencing and to stay in the process with what’s happening right here and right now.

Engage and experience emotions with intention

Experiencing emotions is a valuable and necessary part of the work we’re doing together. We agree to bring intentional awareness to the emotions we are experiencing and to do our best to stay present to the emotions while staying engaged in the workshop. We seek to use our emotions as a tool for transformation – to be able to see things differently – rather than to ‘release’ the emotion. If we are experiencing a trauma response, we agree to seek support to process those emotions as needed.

For those of us who are white, we might feel guilt, shame, sadness, relief, and more. For those of us who are POC, we might feel anger, grief, despair, sadness, and more. Whatever those feelings might be, we bring awareness to experiencing them. As we share our emotions, we renew our agreement to ‘Share my truth responsibly.’

Engage in consent

We check in verbally, and wait for a clear yes – both verbally and non-verbally – before engaging with anyone else in an intimate way, especially physically. When someone inquires about our consent, we agree to check in with ourselves and answer truthfully about our needs. We invite and listen to both verbal and non-verbal cues.

Respect and meet the needs of my body

Our bodies carry our experiences in them (past and present). Paying attention to and addressing the needs of our bodies enable us to stay present and engage in accordance with the agreements we have here. In order to stay grounded, we drink water. In order to stay connected with ourselves and each other, we continue to breathe. We feed ourselves and take bathroom breaks as needed. We support our bodies in order to be resilient and to make our work together sustainable. The space of this workshop is explicitly a non-sexual space. Consensual intimate touch is welcome insofar as it supports us to be in our bodies and present to what’s happening in the space and is non-sexual.

* * These starred agreements are sourced from the Center for Equity and Inclusion and Pacific Educational Group