ECO Sensual Agreements
below you will find the eco-sensual contract
(please sign and send to email@example.com)
and community based agreements to help the well-being of the space
Community agreements are a set of basic ground rules that we ask participants in the space to follow. The goal is to create an open and inclusive space so that every individual has the ability to flourish. This is a living document we may revise as needed.
How We Commit To Relating to Each Other
We are committed to community care and collectively commit to upholding these community guidelines:
All Touch Must Be Consensual. Ask consent whenever you want to touch someone. No means No so if they do not be touched, do not touch them.
Language Matters. We use language to understand each other, and using language thoughtfully both assists understanding and makes the space more welcoming to everyone.
1. Use appropriate gender pronouns as stated
In this space we will not make assumptions about how people identify or what pronouns they use, but rather allow people to let us know themselves and then respect that.
2. Use Inclusive and Respectful Language
We use inclusive language not because we're politically correct, but because it's accurate, fair, respectful and necessary. Inclusive language simply means language that avoids marginalizing people who are already marginalized. It's language that is accessible and meaningful to a wide audience.
3. Avoid Gendered Language
Example, use: you all, everyone, y’all, folks. Not “you guys.”
4. Respect Chosen Language
Respect and use the language that people use to describe themselves, and avoid making assumptions with respect to language. If you’re not sure, ask. For example, although some people prefer “people first” language, this is not universal for all people or even all people within a group (e.g. “people with disabilities” vs “disabled people”).
Furthermore, not all communication is through verbal language. Be aware of body language and strive to be respectful (e.g. scoffing, rolling eyes at a speaker)
One Mic, One Speaker. Only one person speaks at a time. Show respect by not interrupting the person speaking. Provide your full respect and attention while the person is speaking.
Use I Statements. Better to use “I feel, I think, I believe” instead of generalizing everyone thinks the way you do.
Challenge the Idea or Belief, Not the Person. You can always challenge the idea or belief, not the person. Ideas are not people, but people identify with and embrace them. Sometimes they think the idea is the truth when the reality is that it is not. Those who embrace ideas sometimes feel persecuted when it is not them, but the idea that is in question. You are not your ideas, but the awareness behind them.
Mistakes are awesome. Mistakes show us what we need to learn, take this experience/training as a learning experience and challenge yourself to learn things you never knew before. Mistakes are awesome when you learn from them.
Take accountability for harm. If someone makes a statement that you find hurtful, let them know why. If you have said something that was found hurtful, do your best to apologize and avoid it in the future. Don’t be overdramatic in your apology or overcompensate and make a big deal about it. Hold yourself accountable for your actions.
Finally, educate/check in: explain (or ask someone else to explain) why the statement was hurtful and what a better alternative would be in the future. This creates an opportunity for understanding. We will learn from one another, we each bring our knowledge and experiences to the space.
Calling people in, not out! If someone says a hurtful statement that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you may choose to address it at a later point. In some circumstances, it may be best not to address a particular instance in front of everyone, this may lead to perceived public shaming. If you feel the need to correct something in public to educate the group on something they may not be educated on, be sure to take an educated tone, rather than attacking.
Move Up, Move Back or W.A.I.T. (W.A.I.T = Why Am I Talking? Or Why Aren’t I Talking?) If you usually answer questions or speak up, move back. If you are normally someone who doesn’t speak up, this is your opportunity.
“Why Am I Talking”— is for the people who dominate the discussion and do not let others talk; they may keep saying the same things. It is important to ask the questions: “Why Am I Still Talking?” and “Have I Said What I Needed to Say? On the flipside of W.A.I.T. — “Why Aren’t I Talking”is for the people who sit quiet and don’t say much or anything. It is important to ask, why? Is the group not respecting them, do they not feel safe to talk, speak, share, etc.?
Expect unfinished business. There are many instances that bring up in-depth conversations that won’t be finished in the amount of time allotted. There are opportunities to finish these discussions with folks at another time.
No false accusations. Assume best intentions.
Take care of yourself. There might be times during this space when issues come up for you. Be sure to take a moment when you need it.
Don’t be abusive. Bullying will not be tolerated inside or outside the space. (e.g.: anti-harassment)
Generalizing/Representing Communities. Keep in mind that not one person is representative of an entire group of people.
Original reference was obtained from University of California, Santa Cruz’s Student Union Assembly on Monday, May 15, 2022 ; further evolved by Mariana Moscoso at The Decolonization Project