12/1/12: feel free to use this in its entirety or in chunks for your safer spaces purposes. just let us know how you do @ <apocconvergence <at> gmail <dot> com>. thanks!
Qing ai de potential converger,
As coordinators of APOCalypse 2012, we want to present an agreement that strives to proactively raise awareness about and address concerns of physical, cultural, and emotional safety. We want to acknowledge the challenges and concerns present everywhere in this world, including at this convergence, and make clear our goals, expectations, and steps that we will be taking to create as safe a space as we can. With that in mind, we are taking this time to describe:
a) The culture we hope to build within the context in which we all operate,
b) And the specific ways in which we are building toward that culture.
We hope and ask that this temporary space of the convergence is one where all:
- Feel free and safe
- Cease continuing oppression
- Communicate what we think and feel, need, and want
- Learn and grow
- Are responsible for and do our own healing and support others’
- Do no harm but make amends if we do
- Attempt to transform conflict with all the support we need and want
- Do no violence
A few things to keep in mind are:
Differences in gender identity, sexuality, culture, age, size, ability, class, education, race, ethnicity, skin color, gender performance, cisgender privilege, and other identities and positions are rewarded differently in this society and can affect how much agency we have in situations and how safe we feel at all times. Be aware that not everyone will feel comfortable or safe at all times. Be responsible about your privilege and try to transform it to be non-oppressive.
Respect the spaces and the environment. See the Welcome to New Orleans Statement.
Out of respect for people with environmental illnesses, we request that everyone attending APOCalypse please not wear fragrance or scented products whenever possible while attending events at the convergence. This includes clothing that has been laundered with fragranced detergent or softening products. We greatly appreciate your efforts to make APOCalypse accessible to those with MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities). Please view this list of fragrance-free products and related resources that can assist you in keeping APOCalypse as fragrance-free as possible.
However, those with MCS should be advised that we are holding events in spaces that do not have a fragrance-free policy, where smoking is common, where scents are integrated into a spiritual/indigenous practice, and where there may be other environmental toxins present.
We want the convergence to be a welcoming and safe place for children. Please minimize environmental dangers (like closing gates, unplugging power tools, keeping sharp/hot/poisonous things out of reach, etc.) and support the care of children and the wishes of their caretakers.
DRUGS, ALCOHOL & OTHER SUBSTANCES
Being under the influence of drugs/alcohol/other substances is never an excuse for abusive behavior. Know that you will be held accountable for any transgressions under the influence of chemicals. Those who are intoxicated are considered non-consenting in sexual situations.
We are all capable of harming and being harmed; and we are all capable of transforming our pasts and being accountable. As organizers we will not necessarily be able to address conflicts, incidents, or violence that predate this convergence, but we will support and expect accountability while participating in this convergence. We can be reached for any concerns that participants want to share with us, and will listen without making any judgments . Please speak to us if you anticipate any ongoing conflict with folks attending the convergence and need or want support in navigating sharing spaces with each other.
We believe we are able to get closer to the ideal of a safe space for all. But it requires all of us being active and aware.
These are our stated hopes for and expectations of all participants:
- We’re excited for all of us to have a full experience of meeting different people and pursuing interesting relationships and ideas. We also urge all participants to maintain clarity about who you are still getting to know and trust.
- Try new things and challenge yourself but please pay attention to your boundaries — where the risks and safety are for you.
- Catch up with old friends, make friends, and please, take care of your current friends.
- Take responsibility for your feelings; take time for yourself if you need it; ask for support from us if you want.
- Be direct about asking questions and stating your needs.
- Strive for de-escalation and work towards conflict resolution.
- Participate in health and healing spaces.
- If you experience any violence at the convergence, please let us know what you need and we will try our best to fulfill them.
These are what you can expect from the organizers:
- Trust that we will try our best but that we won’t be capable of fulfilling all of your needs.
- We will refrain from making judgments as we will point out what we think are your mistakes.
- If you create any violence at the convergence, we will speak to you directly and ask you to stop and/or leave.
- We will not collaborate with state authorities, but please be warned we may be unable to protect you from Louisiana Law Enforcement. Should they intervene, we will try to provide (limited) legal support that we can as activists.
- In conflicts, we believe it is our responsibility to offer 3rd party support which we call mediation, and ask participants to accept our support. We do this with the understanding that mediation doesn’t always lead to a resolution, but we will always strive for de-escalation.
- We will work to increase safety and support healing, not to punish or penalize.
These are the are the steps toward community support that we will provide:
- Responding to requests asked of us and providing information we can that support peoples’ sense of safety
- Safe rides
- Hotline for logistics with limited referrals to legal, medical, and emotional support
- Definitions of consent
- Agreements for workshop spaces & politicking spaces
- A basic primer & map to New Orleans
- Housing placement support & emergency switches
- Medical/Trauma/Crisis/Mediation/Health Space
- Healing Space
- Text/Tweet notifications of emergency updates
This agreement and the efforts we have outlined are a work in progress, we will continue our work in the lead up to, and throughout the convergence — with the primary goal of mutual respect and safety for this community.
Safety & Mediation Collective for APOCalypse 2012
janick (New Orleans), lida (New York), puck (Oakland), wakx (Seattle)
This collectively written document was inspired by the below references. Thanks to those who sent us recommendations.
- OA Watch Sexual Offense Prevention and Response Team (SOPRT)
safer-spaces-committee/docs/ occupy-wall-street-community- agreement-proposed-by-safer- spaces