A safer space is a dream and a vision of a better society, of what it could be like to feel supported, to feel autonomous, and most of all to feel safer. If we want to create a radical community then we have to question our learned behaviours and challenge others and ourselves. We need to work towards acting in ways that are respectful & build communities of trust & support.
To this end, The People’s Café operates a ‘safer spaces’ agreement. People entering this space are asked to engage with and respect this safer spaces agreement.
Safer Spaces Agreement:
We believe that everyone has an equal right to be heard & an equal responsibility to listen; and everyone has a responsibility to challenge prejudice & oppression. Aggressive behaviour is not conducive to this, and airing belittling views or impinging on another’s right to speak is not tolerated. Instead we aim to cultivate an atmosphere that promotes open and fair discussion at all times.
The Safer Spaces Agreement also states:
- Everyone has an equal right to be heard and an equal responsibility to listen.
- Those who are perhaps used to doing the talking, may feel it benefits them to do more listening, and vice versa. Similarly, don’t talk over people and let other people finish what they are saying before you speak.
- Be aware of the diverse make-up of the room – differing genders, sexualities, beliefs, views and past experiences. Thus avoid making sweeping generalisations, as they are prone to error.
We will not tolerate:
- Any behaviour (including body language and verbal language) that demeans, marginalises, dominates, or perpetuates hierarchies. This includes; Abusive, threatening or violent behaviour, Homophobia, Transphobia, Ableism, Racism, Sexism, or Classism. If you unsure what is meant by any of these words, please ask.
- Identify your own privilege(s) and actively challenge them.
- Regardless of the topic, do not let the discussion get abusive, and stick to discussing the idea/topic, not the person or people who raised it.
- If someone gets upset about something you have said, try to think about why that might be instead of getting defensive.
- If someone is feeling uncomfortable, please do not hesitate to say so.
- Listen, especially if you do not understand a topic. If you wish clarification on a topic, ask respectfully and listen to the answer.
- Consider and take responsibility for the effect that drugs and alcohol may have on your behaviour.
Everyone has a responsibility to challenge prejudice and oppression.
Should a problem arise in the room, that problem will be discussed within the group, and in extreme cases, someone may be asked to leave.The “safer space” is our aspiration and not a promise of a safe space detached from the many forms of oppression which exist in our society. Each of us comes from different backgrounds and this will inevitably effect how we relate to each other. Respect for these differences is also important when being inclusive to those who may never have come across a safer spaces agreement or the principles upon which it is based. We want to support each other in challenging our assumptions and behaviours.