These agreements are to be held in office spaces, in the field, and at events. In the event that they are violated, staff are responsible for holding volunteers accountable.
If you are a volunteer that experiences problematic behavior or is made uncomfortable by the actions or behaviors of other volunteers or staff people, please bring this behavior to one of the following staff:
- Kat Holmes, Field Director, (206) 631-2637, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Farbstein, Field Organizer, (206) 631-2637, email@example.com
- If this behavior is brought to the attention of the above staff people, one staff person will be tasked with holding a sit-down meeting with the person accused of violating the above principles to address the behavior.
- If after the above meeting the behavior does not change, or the accused is unwilling to address the behavior, they will be asked to leave.
We also ask that witnesses to inappropriate behavior take action – bystander engagement has proven to be one of the strongest deterrents to combat harassment and problematic behavior.
The activities outlined below are strictly prohibited. Any participant or staff member who violates this code is subject to discipline, up to and including removal from any event, and prohibition from all future events and activities affiliated with our organization.
- Harassment of any kind, including stalking, deliberate intimidation, unwelcome physical attention, physical assault, and verbal harassment, will not be tolerated.
- Abusive language toward a staff member, volunteer, or another participant.
- Actual or threatened violence toward any individual or group.
- Conduct endangering the life, safety, health, or well-being of others.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and the use of illegal drugs is forbidden at all events. We reserve the right to require a venue to refuse serving alcohol to any volunteer who in our view has consumed too much or is otherwise behaving inappropriately.
We ask that all volunteers commit to the following values and agreements:
- Be aware of your personal power and privilege – Our identity and background gives us different levels of power and privilege in society. For example, your ethnicity, gender, ability, sexuality, citizenship status, income, age, and more are all elements that give us more or less power and privilege in society. We must be aware of our personal power and privilege and how that shows up in a group or office setting.
- Use “I” statements and speak from personal experience – We cannot speak for others’ personal experience, we can only speak for ourselves. Never assume another person’s experience is the same as your own.
- Make space, take space – All of us have different levels of comfortability with taking up space. If you are someone who speaks a lot in group conversations, try to focus on listening. If you are someone who is quiet or shy, try being more outspoken. This is a helpful practice in intentional conversations as well as informal spaces.
- Assume positive intent, lean toward impact – As we are working to build a greater understanding of justice and inclusivity, we may make mistakes. While that is understandable, we want to acknowledge the harm we have done. When others make mistakes, we should hold folks accountable and treat them with empathy as we are all at different places in our learning.
- Ask for a person’s pronouns before assuming (He/his, she/hers, or they/them/theirs) – Gender is fluid and therefore we do not accept a gender binary world (male or female). Before assuming someone’s pronouns based on their appearance, you should ask!
- Meet people where they are and call each other “in” – We are an inclusive, learning environment. When someone makes a hurtful, racist, sexist, transphobic (or other) comment we must address it head on and call each other “in” to discuss how that comment or action was hurtful so we can learn from our actions and prevent them in the future.
- Respect each other – You don’t have to understand someone’s identity or experience to respect them.
- We do not tolerate ~isms + Microaggressions – People come from different backgrounds and we are in the intersections of many identities. We have a zero tolerance of ~isms: racism, ableism, gender discrimination, transphobia, etc.
Our priority is creating an inclusive and equitable environment. Therefore, any volunteer or staff person that refuses to change behaviors that are widely viewed as problematic or violates the above community agreements will be asked to leave.
If you have questions about these agreements, or want to learn more please contact one of the following staff:
- Kat Holmes, Field Director, (206) 631-2624, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Sarah Farbstein, Field Organizer, (206) 631-2637, email@example.com
Glossary of Terms
- Microaggression – Everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. – Psychology Today
- Racism – Racial bias + institutional power to act on those biases. A system of oppression maintained by institutions and cultural “norms” that exploit, control, and oppress People of Color groups in order to maintain a position of social and material supremacy and privilege for white people. – The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
- Sexism – The negative valuing and discriminatory treatment of individuals and groups on the basis of their sex. Sexism can be manifested in both personal attacks and insults, and in the structure of social institutions. – Carlton College Equity Dept
- Heternormativity – The belief or assumption that all people are heterosexual, or that heterosexuality is the default or “normal” state of human being. It tends to complement and accompany concepts like cisnormativity, gender binarism, and gender essentialism. A heteronormative society operates on the assumption that heterosexuality and specific gender features are the human “default.” These assumptions can be hurtful because they are stigmatizing and marginalizing, making people who are LGBT+ feel like they are perceived as deviant or unnatural. – The Queer Dictionary
- Intersectionality – A framework designed to explore the dynamic between co-existing identities (e.g. woman, Black) and connected systems of oppression (e.g. patriarchy, white supremacy). – Kimberly Crenshaw, writer and activist
- White Privilege – Unearned advantages granted to members of a group by prejudicial and powerful social, institutional, and cultural systems that allocate resources and designate value. – The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond
- Cissexism/Transphobia – The pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion that oppresses people whose gender and/or gender expression falls outside of cis-normative constructs. This system is founded on the belief that there are, and should be, only two genders and that one’s gender, or most aspects of it, is inevitably tied to assigned sex. Within cissexism, cisgender people are the dominant/agent group and trans*/gender non-conforming people are the oppressed/target group.