AABC Community Agreements
We present these agreements as an invitation to build caring, respectful, and accountable dialogue within our membership. We desire relationships that are healthy, thriving, and resilient, where working through conflict can lead to mutual understanding and ultimately strengthen our community. These agreements help us create a culture that centers racial and reproductive justice, accessibility, equity, and inclusivity.
As a community, we agree to:
Create a learning environment
We nurture an environment where people can learn and connect with each other.
In order to learn, we need to be vulnerable, in order to be vulnerable, we need to build trust.1,2
Prioritize connection, authenticity, and awareness
We take care of our relationships by listening actively and curiously. We act with respect, empathy, and integrity. The vitality of the entire organization increases when we cultivate caring and resilient interpersonal relationships.2,3,4,5
Expect to make mistakes, expect to repair and grow
Harm will happen. Our response to harm is critical. We can honor the humanity of all people involved. We will be accountable for our words and actions. We center the impact of our actions even if we didn’t intend to cause harm.5,6,7
Balance accountability and compassion
We have grace for ourselves and each other, while holding ourselves and each other to high standards. We recognize that harm, repair, and growth are an ongoing cycle.
Speak from our own experience
We use ‘I’ statements and acknowledge that our experience is not universal. There is no universal experience. We avoid generalizations.
We ask questions in conflict. “Can you tell me more about…?” or, “Have you considered…?” When we ask questions, we may have an opportunity to learn and connect.5
No tolerance for hate
While we do stay curious in conflict, we don’t tolerate racism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, or any language that is harmful or oppressive. We call each other in respectfully, but this is a firm boundary in our community. 5
We continue to check our positionality, privilege, and power. We give pause before speaking to create space for those voices that have historically been silenced.
Recognize and celebrate intersecting identities
We understand that marginalized groups are not a monolith, so we avoid reductionist narratives. We strive to center marginalized groups and honor intersectionality.8
Understand that “change is constant” 2
These agreements will be modified to meet the climate of our membership. We celebrate our incredible capacity to learn, change, grow, and create opportunities for connection and solidarity.
The following resources strongly informed the corresponding sections of the document. We encourage you to check them out!
- The 6 Pillars of Brave Space, Victoria D. Stubbs, LICSW, LCSW-C Clinical Instructor and Teaching Support Program Coordinator, University of Maryland, https://www.ssw.umaryland.edu/media/ssw/field-education/2---The-6-Pillars-of-Brave-Space.pdf
- Emergent Strategy Institute. Move at the speed of trust. Fractals: How we are at the small scale is how we are at the large scale. Change is constant. https://esii.org/about/
- Allied Media Keynote 2013, adrienne marie brown, Emergence http://adriennemareebrown.net/2013/06/21/emergence-speech-from-opening-for-allied-media-conference-2013/
- The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill, Karla McLaren, https://bookshop.org/p/books/the-art-of-empathy-a-complete-guide-to-life-s-most-essential-skill-karla-mclaren/9428074?ean=9781622030613
- Loretta Ross TED Talk on Call In Culture https://www.npr.org/2021/12/03/1061209084/loretta-j-ross-what-if-we-called-people-in-rather-than-calling-them-out
- Transformative Justice Strategic Reader, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Jenna Peters-Golden and adrienne maree brown. https://store.alliedmedia.org/products/transformative-justice-strategic-reader?variant=20740165569