Zero Tolerance for Harassment
Critical Proximity as a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to any form of harassment. Physically or verbally threatening anyone will result in you being asked to leave the conference. If you find yourself in a conflict that might get heated, find a volunteer or contact an organizer, namely myself, before it gets to a point where attendees feel threatened. False reports of harassment are extremely rare and will be taken seriously. If you are asked to leave the conference due to harassment, you will not be invited back to future Critical Proximity events.
Please respect others’ personal boundaries, especially when they ask you to. We have stickers to indicate if people feel comfortable being touched or photographed; if they do not have a sticker, please ask before doing either. Also be aware if you are dominating conversations or otherwise not allowing others to speak comfortably. If someone looks like they want to be left alone or try to excuse themselves, don’t obstruct their exit.
Don’t Assume Someone’s Identity
Our culture has trained us to make assumptions of people off of their looks. While at Critical Proximity, and hopefully outside too, please refrain from using gender pronouns of people you don’t know personally, as well as assuming traits like race or sexuality. Default to using a person’s name and framing questions so others can disclose the information they feel comfortable sharing. If you absolutely must know, ask a person in private what they prefer to be called.
Safe Spaces are Works in Progress
Attendees at Critical Proximity come from all walks of life and experience with social justice topics. We want to make allowance for mistakes but also normalize corrective action. When someone makes a mistake, let them know. When someone corrects you, try not to act defensive, rather, thank them for helping you out. Making this a safe space is an active effort; it means letting people feel comfortable calling out oppression when they see it, and recognizing we’re all in different spots on their learning paths.
Here is a three step process to handle being called out:
This doesn’t just mean hearing what someone says. Listening is an active process of recognizing someone is communicating and that you are affected by what they say. Don’t write someone off as emotional, overreacting, sensitive, etc. That isn’t listening.
Then take the extra step to believe what the person is telling you. When someone calls you out, in the heat of conflict, being right isn’t what’s important. It’s that you hurt someone, hopefully on accident, and wish to repair that damage and reestablished good faith. It takes a lot of courage to call out oppressive behavior at conferences in public, so respect that they overcame fear of public rejection to bring your mistake to your attention.
Ask questions if you don’t understand, ask for their forgiveness to move past the incident. Most people don’t mind explaining what you did wrong so you can avoid it in the future, but do respect that they aren’t obligated to educate you. A quick google search will still answer your questions. If you followed these steps, you most likely can leave the conflict without any hostility and can go on with life a little more experienced.
~*~ Be Safe ~*~
~*~ Have Fun ~*~