Aorta Community Agreements

Group guidelines/community agreements/guidelines for safer spaces are developed by and for group members sharing a particular space, i.e. the steering committee/board of directors, subcommittees, community meetings/demonstrations. Every time people come together as a group, we are both a community and a culture. At the NESAWG conference, we are looking for a respectful, comfortable, open, curious and friendly community and culture. Community agreements help us to find concrete ways to create this culture and to speak above and through conflicts without creating one. With these practices and tools, we can challenge ourselves and each other, while always realizing that we all come from different places of knowledge and transformation. Community group directives/agreements are working papers that are constantly evolving and are reviewed and invited to amend at each other meeting. All conference participants agreed to abide by these agreements. Please pay attention to your own actions, be open to observing your behaviour and be open to sharing comments with others about their actions. We found that in the spaces that we facilitate, more often than not, when someone does or says something that does damage or supports the values of the deletion systems, it is not their intention to do so.

But if we use our good intentions to deny (or avoid) the damage, more damage will be done. The issue in this Community agreement is that we are all doing the work to recognize that our intention and the impact of our actions are two different things, and take responsibility for all the negative effects we have. (This can be as simple as an excuse.) Members agreed to minimize the negative effects of most of these repressive ideologies, because they are all interconnected and relevant to our work. This involves engaging in learning and learning through workshops, policy development, community cooperation, etc., and can be achieved together. NOTE: There are a few community agreements that are often addressed to participants that we do not use or do not bring. Two of the most common are «accepting the best intentions» and «trusting the norm.» The reason we don`t use it is that if someone is not able to do it (they say they don`t feel familiar, or unsure), with a community agreement that tells them to do so, nothing will change. These agreements are not always realistic, especially if we take into account the fact that when people have been harmed by sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, classicism, they/we build the tools necessary to support ourselves and protect ourselves.

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