Initiatives

Community Agreements

This is a living document in continuous development.

These guidelines have been adapted from the Anti Oppression Network’s Safer Space Policy and Community Agreements. They will be reviewed at the beginning of gatherings each time a new person participates. These guidelines have been created by and for CRC participants sharing any given space.


We believe in fostering an open and inclusive space. As collective members, collaborators, and public participants in CRC initiatives we pledge to make sure this is an inclusive and harassment-free experience for everyone regardless of age, body size, dis/abilities, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, level of experience, nationality, personal appearance, race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.

Inequality exists everywhere (whether we like it or not), even in social justice spaces. Participants in the the Creative Resilience Collective agree to lessen the negative effects of oppressive ideologies as much as possible. “There is no hierarchy of oppression” (Lorde) -- we strive to recognize and counteract all oppressions intersectionally. We position ourselves mindfully in an anti-oppressive stance through study groups, workshops, critical writing, art/design making, and other neighborly practices.

Participants in the collective should experience a space full of comfort, agency and a sense of worth. Personal boundaries should be welcomed, should maintain integrity under stress, and should be met with generosity. Sharing needs should feel rhythmic and dependable. Consider what you can do to encourage and support others. Make room for quieter voices to contribute. Offer support and enthusiasm for great ideas. Leverage the low cost of experimentation to support emergent ideas, and take care to acknowledge original sources, not just the most recent or loudest contributor. When someone offers something unexpected, look for ways to contribute and collaborate. Share your knowledge and skills. Prioritize access for and input from those who are traditionally excluded from the civic and political process.

Group members are accountable to each other and the community at large, and are responsible for direct and open communication, transparency, and how we share and distribute power. Accountability is weighed much more heavily through measuring impact than by reviewing intentions.


Core group guidelines:


  • Treat others the way they want to be treated - We all sometimes assume our needs are symmetrical with others’. Don’t erase the differences between all lives.
  • Always have check-ins - Take it for granted that other people are not always aligned with you emotionally, intellectual, spiritually, or otherwise. Put in your best effort into aligning using all your communication skills. ‘Community’ and ‘communication’ go hand in hand.
  • Assume Positive Intent (API) - Not everyone comes in with the same set of experiences and knowledge, so assume that people have good intent.
  • Be accountable - Anticipate, acknowledge, and show responsibility for the impact of your actions and words. Intentions count less than impact.
  • Confidentiality - Share lessons learned. Refrain from names and identifiers when you have not gotten consent to share them.
  • “Don’t Yuck My Yum” - Avoid statements that pass judgment, such as “I hate that” or “Eww!” We all have different experiences, struggles, tastes, and preferences.
  • No shaming and/or belittling - The emotional lives of ourselves and others demand respect and care. “Say what you mean; mean what you say; and don’t say it mean.”
  • Use “I” statements - Speak from your own experiences rather than generalizing. You are an expert in your own experience.
  • Self-care - Take breaks from meetings/organizing if needed (“Show up for your health, not for events”). Pass on/delegate responsibilities if needed. Say yes and no when you mean it. Define healthy boundaries. Cherish mistakes. Develop support networks within and outside the collective.


Accessibility


  • Physical and social accessibility - All spaces shared by members (i.e. meetings, events) must be as physically and socially accessible as possible, including
    • Wheelchair accessible entrances, washrooms, seating
  • Care - Hold each other accountable for community and self care.


Before a gathering:


  • Have some food beforehand or bring some to share to avoid the “hanger” that can affect the process in a meeting.
  • Do what you need to do to come into the space clear of mind clutter to be fully present.
  • Check-in with yourself to see if you have the capacity to attend the meeting. maybe you need a break, and that’s a-ok.
  • Take breaks from meetings/organizing if needed.
  • Breath. sometimes we’re in a rush to get to meetings. Take time to breath, slow down, and ground yourself.
  • Try to come prepared. Take time to gather supplies and the things you’ll need for the meeting to avoid feeling flustered and stressed while in the meeting. It could be your laptop, water bottle, pen and notepad, notes you’ve made, etc. If you forget something, that’s ok too. Be kind to yourself.
  • Repeat: be kind to yourself (because reminders never hurt).


During a gathering:


Meet your physical needs. if you need to go to the washroom, go right ahead. bring food if you need. there’s access to water as well. stay hydrated!  

  • Assert healthy boundaries.
  • Say “yes” or “no” when you mean it. (Express your agency.)
  • Communicate your needs to the group.
  • Pass on/delegate tasks and responsibilities if needed. (We’re all human and can’t do everything despite our want to. Feel free to ask for help.)
  • Take breaks if you need.
  • If you need to leave the space to take time to yourself, feel free to do so.


Post-gathering:


  • Care (for yourself or by/for others) - Sometimes our meetings can be long and draining, Do what you need to do to recharge and de-stress.
  • Do something energizing – Walk, exercise, take a quick stretch, etc.
  • Be introverted - Read a book, take a bath, watch a movie, listen to good music.
  • Be social - Go out, share a meal, hit the dancefloor.
  • Rest - Take a nap/go to bed (if it’s an evening meeting).
Take things one thing at a time - Sometimes you may feel overwhelmed with action items to do. Create a list or plan out how you might make the workload more manageable over time. It could help put your mind at ease and reduce anxiety.




© Creative Resilience Collective, 2018