Acknowledge privilege where we hold it and be cognizant of our position in respect to the space and to others.
Reflect on our own culture, values, beliefs, and on the impact that white supremacy and other systems of oppression: racism, classism, sexism, able-ism, homophobia, and xenophobia have had on our lives. How do we, in our actions and inactions, uphold these systems? (In ourselves and in this space.)
Acknowledge the Power of Language
We recognize that language can divide or connect, denigrate or celebrate, hurt or heal. We strive to use language (including body language, imagery, and other modes of nonverbal communication) in ways that most inclusively support all.
Step Up, Step Back
In our practice of self-awareness and acknowledging the privileges we may hold, we will also recognize that historically and currently marginalized individuals and groups do not have equitable access to time and space we may have. We work to combat that by making space for these individuals and groups. This may mean stepping back to listen and allowing others to share and speak.
If you are someone who participates often and is really comfortable talking – awesome do it. However, recognize that after you have shared a few times to leave space for other people to share their ideas. A good tool is to count to five after you have shared a few times before you share again so that someone who hasn’t shared and isn’t as quick to jump in has a few seconds to jump in there. If you usually wait to share, remember your voice is important and we encourage you to speak substantively at least a few times during the class.
Honor and Respect Others Stories and Voices
Actively listen to others and refrain from interruptions. We all have our own voices and stories that are valuable and important. Respect the voices of others and honor their stories with your attention. Recognize that the sharing in this space can be intensely personal, so be respectful of other people and their stories and take the learning out of this space but do not share their names and stories unless explicitly given permission to do so.
Honor the Journey (Make Mistakes, Learn, & Grow)
We are all at different stages on our journeys of self-discovery, relearning, unlearning, self-acceptance, and self-love. Honor the place you are in and respect the journey and position others are in. Understand that you will make many mistakes along the way, and be willing to make them, but you must learn and grow from them. Remember you have the right to change your mind. If you say something and then later disagree with yourself, that is okay. You are allowed to feel differently and you are allowed to forgive yourself.
Honor Your Emotions (Laugh, Cry, Heal)
We encourage acknowledgment of all our emotions, from pain to elation. Share your emotions in context and take responsibility for your feelings as belonging to you, without expecting others will feel the same. Remember to take care of yourself. We encourage you to ask for things that are important to you, voice when something isn’t working for you, or ask for assistance when needing to discuss a difficult issue with the group. We also respect an individual’s need for personal space outside of the group. If you need detach and step away from the group for any reason, please do so.
We will encounter heavy and traumatizing stories and situations on our journeys but whenever possible remember to have fun!