Suggested Summit Community Agreements

Below are some suggested strategies for creating a more inclusive summit. Community agreements can be helpful in creating an anti-oppressive culture. Many of them were created from the movement but described by the AORTA Collective. We added some of our own:

ONE DIVA, ONE MIC

Please, one person speak at a time. (It can also be useful to ask people to leave space in between speakers, for those who need more time to process words, or are less comfortable fighting for airtime in a conversation.)

PRIORITIZE VOICES OF COLOR

We want to lift up the voices of people who are most impacted by white supremacy and the violence of everyday institutional and interpersonal racism. An example of this would be white participants not being the first to raise their hands in workshops. We also don’t want to put unnecessary pressure on people of color – to tokenize, force a spotlight, or believe that each person of color speaks for all people of their race.

RESPECT PRONOUNS

If you’re unsure which pronoun a person uses, listen first to the pronoun other people use when referring to that person or ask them what pronoun they use. If you accidentally use the wrong pronoun, apologize quickly and sincerely, then move on. The bigger deal you make out of the situation, the more uncomfortable it is for everyone. You can also use gender neutral pronouns if you don’t know, like “They, Them, Theirs”.

NO ONE KNOWS EVERYTHING; TOGETHER WE KNOW A LOT

That means we all get to practice being humble, because we have something to learn from everyone in the room. It also means we all have a responsibility to share what we know, as well as our question, so that others may learn from us.

MOVE UP, LISTEN UP

If you’re someone who tends to not speak a lot, please move up into a role of speaking more. If you tend to speak a lot, please move up into a role of listening more.

WE CAN’T BE ARTICULATE ALL THE TIME

As much as we’d like, we just can’t. Often people feel hesitant to participate in a workshop or meeting for fear of “messing up” or stumbling over their words. We want everyone to feel comfortable participating, even if you can’t be as articulate as you’d like.

DON’T EXPECT CLOSURE, EXPECT COMMITMENT

Racism wasn’t built in a day and we can’t topple it in one! We should expect a life-long commitment from the participants here. That’s how much work we have to do and how necessary each of us are for creating a different, more just world.

John Heller/Post-Gazette LOCAL /MLK Day March Against Police Brutality and War Oakland  - Jan. 19, 2015 - about 1,000 protesters marched from Oakland on MLK Day to protest Police Brutality and War.
John Heller/Post-Gazette
LOCAL /MLK Day March Against Police Brutality and War
Oakland – Jan. 19, 2015 – about 1,000 protesters marched from Oakland on MLK Day to protest Police Brutality and War.