December 2020
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December 5, 2020

Community Agreements Aorta

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mark Baker @ 7:07 pm

We expect all participants to practice the community by agreeing on the following: Here are some community agreements that can be helpful at meetings. Not all will be useful for each group, depending on the culture and preferences of the group and individuals within the group. (Some of them have been developed/adapted by AORTA, others have been exploited over time in our wider galaxy by teammates of ease. 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. The agreements we propose instead, which capture the spirit of these encounters, are “we cannot be articulated all the time”, “to be generous with each other” or “it is a space to learn.” 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. Things like community agreements, an agenda, an available diagram of your group`s decision process, and a place where important topics are stored for future conversations, next steps, etc., are important bases for a meeting – we call them containers.

They act as visual tools on which participants and moderators can return throughout the meeting to keep the group focused, on the track and on the same page. They also offer directions for times when it becomes sticky or tense. The members of the group are responsible for each other and the Community as a whole and are responsible for direct and open communication, transparency and how we share and distribute power. 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.

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