A Braver Space
Now more than ever, we long to belong. We gather with a vision for a new world in which everyone belongs. Holding this image creates more capacity for each of us to support the creation of this new world.
“In order to build the movements capable of transforming our world, we have to do our best to live with one foot in the world we have not yet created.” –Aurora Levins Morales
Beloved is a spontaneous village, and as such it asks that we be village-minded. Toward that end, we are creating community agreements that make our spaces not just safer but braver.
The distinction is in how we promise to show up both in love and in conflict: with the vow to keep an open heart, an elastic mind, and a commitment to learning.
Brave spaces also ask that we tend properly to our nervous systems so we may become the containers that can hold the depth, complexity, shame, and grief of the times in which we find ourselves.
It is never a question of, “if there is harm.” It is always a question of, “when harm happens, how will we face it together?”
We acknowledge that dominant culture in North America is ill-equipped to reckon with the widespread nature of centuries of diverse traumas unfurling everywhere, from social media to our own communities. In this way, perhaps our reach exceeds our grasp. We do believe, however, that transformation is possible and that we all must proceed as if each and every one of us is needed. The word “vow” comes from an ancient word that meant “I pray.”
May these vows be a prayer for how it might look to live as if this were true.
Brave Space Vow
The Beloved Brave Space Vow is a set of commitments that we agree to as members of the Beloved community. By attending this event we vow to contribute to making this space, our space, as inclusive and harm-reductive (1) as possible. We recognize that no space can be truly safe and yet we agree to strive to confront harm and harassment head-on through a lens of accountability, care, and healing.
We vow to
Honor consent. We vow to respect the physical, mental, energetic, psychic, and emotional boundaries set by our fellow community members. We understand that if others do not offer us their enthusiastic consent, then it is our responsibility to enthusiastically honor their boundaries and to refrain from engaging with them without their explicit permission. We understand that consent is verbal and non-verbal and we understand that we do not have the right to touch anyone who does not extend that right to us directly.
We vow to
Accept accountability for what we say and do. We agree to prioritize the impact of our actions over our intentions. We work to correct any harm we might cause. We hold ourselves and others accountable and call for the support of event staff as needed. We agree to consider apologies as a three step spectrum: apologizing without excuse or blaming others for holding us accountable, doing the necessary work to understand our impact, and stopping the harmful behavior immediately. We eschew punitive justice and disposability in favor of transformative (2), healing justice (3) for which the entire community is responsible. In this way, we agree to be village-minded when approaching conflict and the duty of repair.
We vow to
Look out for one another. If we observe harmful behavior or interactions where mutual consent is unclear or directly violated, we bring our concern to light by compassionately checking in with the person who may need our support. We draw on the support of friends, fellow attendees, and event staff when needed.
“What makes a community or individual resilient is not self-mastery or will – it is the quality, strength, and inclusivity of our relational bonds.” –Lucién Demaris
We vow to
Honor sacred music and sacred cultural practices from global communities of color. We recognize that we have been provided the space to experience this music and we honor respect that opportunity. We do not engage in actions, behavior, dress, or costume that perpetuates systemic cultural oppression and/or cultural appropriation.
We vow to
Challenge systems of racism, sexism, ableism, sizeism, fatphobia, transphobia, queerphobia, classism, and any and all other forms of oppression established to marginalize, exclude, and erase bodies, identities, and narratives within our communities. We agree to work towards creating an environment that is both equitable and inclusive, recognizing that this work requires practice listening, learning, and recognizing that oppression is deeply woven into the fabric of society.
“There’s a way out of this mess, and it requires each of us to begin with our own body. You and your body are important parts of the solution. Your body—all of our bodies—are where changing the status quo must begin.” –Resmaa Menakem
We vow to
Embrace the vulnerability that comes with the radical practice of empathy and accountability. We work to be aware not only of how we are feeling and experiencing the world; but also how others are feeling and being treated within our community. We treat ourselves and others compassionately and seek to bring deep understanding to our interactions and experiences at the festival.
We vow to
Take responsibility for the energy we bring into the space, and for unpacking our own biases and unintegrated emotional “shadow” material. We understand trauma to be widespread and in need of deep, ongoing attention, especially for those whose identities are marginalized. We understand our liberation is not an individual endeavor, but is bound up in one another and is a collective responsibility.
Harm reduction is a set of practices that has been gifted to us by Queer and Transgender people of color, drug users, people in the se trade and survivors of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Harm reduction is not a public health invention or a social work intervention, even though it has been used effectively in those fields. –Fumbling Towards Repair, A Workbook for Community Accountability Facilitators
2. Transformative Justice: Transformative Justice (TJ) seeks to provide people who experience violence with immediate safety and long-term healing and reparations while holding people who commit violence accountable within and by their communities. TJ centers survivor safety, healing, and agency. TJ centers the goals of accountability and transformation of those who abuse or cause harm. TJ centers the goals of community response and accountability. TJ is the transformation of the community and social conditions that create and perpetuate violence – systems of oppression, exploitation, domination, and state violence. – Generation FIVE, Fumbling Towards Repair
TJ is “a way to respond to violence within our communities in ways that 1) don’t create more harm and violence and 2) actively work to cultivate the very things that we know will prevent violence, such as accountability, healing, trust, connection, safety.” –Mia Mingus, disability justice organizer
“TJ recognizes that oppression is at the root of all forms of harm, abuse, and assault, As a practice it therefore aims to address and confront those oppressions on all levels and treats this concept as an integral part to accountability and healing.” –Philly Stands Up
3. Healing Justice: Healing Justice means we all deserve to heal on our terms and we confront oppressive systems that get in our way. We honor the trauma and resilience of generations that came before us and use interactive, daily practices that anyone can do. Healing Justice is a reminder to social movements that the concept of action should be expanded to support the self-determination, interdependence, resilience & resistance of those most impacted by oppression. Healing Justice is revolutionary in confronting the capitalist, colonial, individualistic paradigms that tell us we are alone when we seek out healing. –definition taken from Young Women’s Empowerment Project and the Chicago Healing Justice Learning Circle.
See also: healingjustice.org
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