Meeting Minutes – Safer Spaces – 02.26.12

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Tompkins Square Park



Kelly: subgroup of facilitation

  • several meetings with Rinku Sen’s sister Nyantha about how to handle conflict from an anti-oppressive framework (focus on dealing with conflict, not on racism, etc.)
  • need to reserve space at meetings for conflicts that inevitably arise
  • harvesting is short-shafted
  • now that agreements passed, how to integrate into processes? make part of training
  • Facilitation is discussing how to summarize Community Agreements at start of each meeting
  • group is planning training on conflict and anti-oppression


Experiment with alternative forms of facilitation at Open Space re: grievance/accountability

  • continue making simple and accessible (i.e. childcare, weekend times)
  • every other Friday 6-10 PM (every other Sunday?)
  • work on anti-oppression/anti-racism structure


Code of Conduct (Matthew G.)

  • Angela has not had a chance to read; can fw to group and collect feedback
  • Matthew is not working with Sean on his proposal


Honoring trans activists at OWS: 1st 10 days of May for 2nd Annual Chloes (honoring Love Warriors)




  1. Sustainability meeting
  2. Community Agreement next steps
  3. Safer Spaces Boston Skype call
  4. Judith Butler call topics
  5. Medics incident? (medic did not come to meeting, so removed from agenda)
  6. Community meeting reportback
  7. Mother Jones article
  8. Sage
  9. Celebration


Sustainability meeting: Monday, March 5 8:30, tentatively at Leah/Nikki’s (have to confirm), potluck!!! 7:00


CA next steps:

  • David (Facilitation) will propose changing structure of GA to discussion portion, with WGs like Safer Spaces facilitating a discussion once a month, wants our support and participation.
  • Teach-ins on CA (Chepe wants to help) — can work with groups so we don’t have to do all ourselves.  We should do teach-ins before going to GA.
  • How does someone institute agreement?  What are practices to respond to violation?  CA vibe-checker?  CA is not rules (have to take all in context — teach-in?).  Time out hand signal?  Oops ouch (and creating culture of acknowledging)?
  • Community dialogue: Ask to adopt CA for course of meeting?  Way to build practice.
  • Tech will put CA under resources with Declaration for Occupation.
  • Fanya spoke to Legal spoke from Wednesday who didn’t like the word “race” in CA; we’re cool now.
  • How to create environment where people will learn and not shut down?  Half of white people at meeting said they had never heard of “oppression” before.  We need to talk about oppression in the context of power dynamics and privilege.
  • Post resources on our space on NYCGA?  Link to it in other places.  Add Lie of Entitlement and Learning to Listen?  Update regularly so it appears on NYCGA front page (recent actions).  Suggest to Facilitation.
  • New meme: People before process.  New hashtag!!! #peoplebeforeprocess Tweeting it now
  • Oops/ouch-type word for break.  Pause/paws (with paw hand signal?).  No need to process, but need to pause briefly.  What if we just start doing it?  Or time-out (with t hand signal)?  Propose to Facilitation to try out at next meeting?


Safer Spaces call:

  • Support New York is giving a workshop on what to do when someone is called out in Boston on Saturday 3/3.  We can invite group to attend.  Leah can communicate with Boston.
  • Ask for list of questions from group in advance of call to organize discussion.
  • Plan call for before next week’s Sustainability meeting (March 5 at 7:30) at Nikki/Leah’s.  Suggest this time to them?


Judith Butler call

  • Leah suggested topics of discussion for the call and let them know about CA.
  • Leah will be on call and report back.  Leah will suggest having call at a time outside of standard work hours.


Mother Jones call: It’s done.  Let Leah know if you want additional information sent on to Josh.  Article will come out when documentary comes out.


Community meeting reportback:

Fishbowl exercise around power and resources at OWS.  Limited time given for discussion of needs and strategies — issue of Facilitation as authority, stifle important dialogue.  Entrenched in bureaucratic process but we can change it.  Sage said he was feeling a violent act coming on, explained in confusing way, Lady tried to advocate for him.  Facilitation tried to move on.  Lopi said she was feeling unsafe and group should handle.  Tashy said she could talk later.  Sage walked out with Casper and another person.  People wanted to move on.  Angela paused meeting to acknowledge.  Frustrating people want to move on, ignore.  Facilitators left no time to harvest needs/grievances at beginning.  Nicole, Tashy, Marisa facilitated.  Suggest they adopt CA for meeting?  Need accountability, structured response, acknowledgment of traumatic experience.  No time for go-around at end.  100(?) people attended.  Assume conflict might come up and leave space for it.

Suggest to Facilitation: adopt CA for meeting, use time-out/pause, resources, allow time for conflict/harvesting — #peoplebeforeprocess, have Support people available for discussion outside meeting if needed and to give rundown of issue to Facilitation to determine whether to handle at meeting (volunteer selves but also let us know in advance if you want one of us?  We can model how to do Support and give an Active Listening training).


Violence at GA:  Sage: We tabled but we need to discuss the headbutt incident and that people felt unsafe.  [name redacted since they are not here] said [they] saw the whole thing and tried to de-escalate until Justin came into Sage’s personal space.  [name redacted since they are not here] believed Justin made dramatic spectacle made push seem more violent.  Acknowledging that some people experience violence in different ways (including invasion of space).  Jeff punched someone in the face at the same GA.  Safer Spaces propose a 4 step procedure after violence occurs?  Revision of 6 step process?  Training?  Partner with Matthew, Sean, WOW, POC, etc. to create crisis intervention process?  Nikki will bottom-line this and try to schedule meeting.  Angela will send Matthew’s proposal and connect Nikki to Matthew.


CA Celebration: Oh hey we did it!!!


Present: Kelly, Leah, Mirza, Nikki, Fanya, Angela, Winter

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