Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Safe Sapce Agreement of Hydra Books

Safe spaces is about our continual responsibility towards better more informed and accountable solidarity, safety and equality. Questioning our learned behaviors in the spirit of mutual respect and generosity. Its an ongoing team effort, working on political, social and personal level. Because we don’t want to reproduce the inequalities of society.

Everyone deserves to feel able to contribute to whatever extent they like, feel comfortable, and know they’re respected and valued. A safe space is place where people are protected from abuse or upset. Discrimination is unacceptable and will be challenged. This includes, but is not limited to: racism, ageism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, sexism or ableism. It ought to go without saying that assaults, drug and alcohol abuse will never be tolerated.

Prejudice based on class, gender identity, gender presentation, language, ethnicity, nationality, asylum status, activist experience or religious affiliation will not be tolerated, but  it would be inappropriate to pretend that it won’t or doesn’t ever happen. We encourage everyone to be aware of the privileges they might convey. And expect everyone to be ready to have this challenged. To not be defensive and to be accountable in the confrontation of blind spots with the knowledge that our freedom is all tied together. A person whom has had a boundary breach can expect to be believed and there upset taken seriously, and that they’re always the one that gets our attention primarily in any situation.

Safe space is less a finished document and more an ongoing conversation between everyone who uses Hydra Books. If you want to contribute to this document or conversation, or feel anything has been omitted, let us know. Language, because it comes from an individual, can never be entirely inclusive. The document then, is not the agreement itself but an attempt at understanding what the agreement is.

What happens if someone says/does something offensive?

Often, when someone says something prejudice, they realises as the oppressive mush falls out there face. 

But in the odd occasion that the behavior need asserting for whatever reason, we promise to consult with the person whose upset and assist them in taking what they feel is appropriate action. Everyone can expect to be heard, though you are not the priority if your actions or words are the problematic ones. We recognise intersecting privileges and prejudices of the world we live generate a multitude of complicated problems and solutions. Remember, if it gets too much, you can leave the discussion at any time.

Our responses and support of a conflict of the agreement will vary according to context and severity. They may include:
• Being “called out”. Anyone has the right to question someone else’s words or actions if they are problematic or offensive. We hope the “calling out” will be done in the spirit of constructive criticism.
  • A one-to-one conversation. Enabling a more in depth, constructive, discussion of the problem. 
  • In the spirit of not having to speak on behalf of a whole gender, sex, class or racial group, which is exhausting, further resources (online/books/zines) might be offered to provide an explanation of why something is problematic.
  • Being asked to leave the space. This is not forever, but on a specific occasion we may ask you to leave. Sometimes, a situation arises which is hard to deal with straight away. Things might look better after a nap or a bit of thinking time.
  • Being banned from the bookshop. This is rather unlikely, but if an individual continually compromises the safety of others, dominating the space, they may be asked not to come back. 

When we say we, we recognise this is actually a group of autonomous individuals with different emotional capacities, blind spots, experiences of oppression and understandings of there own safety. Being as we are not a company, we don’t, nor could not and would want to, make anyone enforce this code because we respect that individuality. This means that the responses in a given situation may vary. (Just cause one person is happy to accept or chat about your/someone else's behavior or attitude doesn't mean that another ought,) but we will always try to find the right person for the situation.

If there is anything you don’t understand here please ask.

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