Community Agreement adopted by Minutes

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A. COMMITMENT TO ACCESSIBILITY, CONSENT,

AND ANTI-OPPRESSION

We commit to making OWS spaces physically and linguistically accessible to all.

We commit to making resources equally accessible to all.

We do not engage in violence or threats of violence, including verbal aggression.

We get explicit consent before interacting physically, or using others’ belongings.

We affirm that consent is not just the absence of a “no,” but the presence of a “yes.”

We acknowledge that different people in our community have different vulnerabilities to police or hospital interaction, due to their race, documentation status, immigration status, gender, economic situation, age, criminal justice or medical history, and experience with police violence.

We will not use substances inside this space that may attract the attention of police and risk harm to our community.

We affirm that in the event that a person is harmed, it is their discretion to involve the police or not. The decision to call an ambulance is also theirs.  This does not apply when someone is unconscious, their life is in immediate danger, or they are otherwise incapable of consenting.

We respect everyone’s names, preferred gender pronouns, and expressed identities.  We make no assumptions about someone’s identity, be it race, gender, age or class based on their appearance. We also understand that no one is required to share information about their identities.

We  commit to an ongoing awareness of how prejudice and the structures of oppression, including the ways unearned power and privilege (that accompany race, gender, physical ability. legal status, wealth, and/or sexuality, among other identites and forms of privilege) in this society affect our actions and decisions.

We recognize that certain behavior—such as shouting someone down in a meeting or dismissing experiences of oppression—can be triggering for survivors of sexual assault and/or those who have been on the receiving end of different and multiple forms of  oppression or abuse.

We commit to hearing each other and creating opportunities for all voices to be heard, especially those that have been historically marginalized or silenced.

B. COMMITMENT TO CONFLICT RESOLUTION

AND ACCOUNTABILITY

We accept a shared responsibility to hold one another and ourselves accountable to these agreements.  If we feel that an agreement is not being respected, we will express that concern without violence, judgment, or assumption of intent by others.

As a community, we commit to developing creative and transformative ways to address harm. When someone is harmed, we affirm that the experience and decisions of the person harmed will guide our responses and next steps, while allowing all parties involved to transform the cycles of abuse and violence.

Each meeting will begin with a reminder of these agreements, and reference will be made to them as needed.

We agree that issues may arise that take priority over the meeting agenda and space needs to be given to address them immediately. Such priority is needed to create and support an anti-oppressive space.

If an individual disrespects any of these community agreements we are empowered to collectively implement the OWS De-escalation Process or require the individual to participate in the OWS grievance process (once it is agreed upon). Either process once followed may result in an individual being asked to leave for a set or indefinite period of time, or until agreement has been reached about conditions for return. Refusal to respect either process and leave when asked could result in the individual being removed from the space.

Those who have committed harm in this space, or who have committed harm in the past and whose presence limits participation of others in this movement, may be asked to leave until the person has completed or is in compliance with an accountability process. We will work to coordinate with organizations that assist individuals who are overcoming addiction or who have committed abuse or violence.

 OWS De-escalation Process

(This 6 step process was designed by the Safety Cluster to address conflict

in the Zuccotti Park encampment.)

DISCOVER – any person sees what’s going on

CALM – Neighbors / friends step in to initiate dialogue

SUPPORT – Call out for support/security/medics—group members approach as team, support and safer spaces go in first, de-escalation backs them up, steps up if need be. These groups can help address basic comfort needs, or encourage person in distress to get medical support.  If can’t be resolved, go to next step.

DE-ESCALATE – de-escalation/security

PEACE COUNCIL –  1-2 reps each from de-escalation, safer spaces, medical, & support–assess for things like danger to self or others and responds appropriately.
(Harmed person or people will guide actions taken, and group makes decision together.)

ACTION – Strategies for accountability other actions decided on by the peace council (including community-wide awareness raising, community direct action, or options of ejection, and as last resort of EMS or off-site police involvement.)

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