BIPOC WRITING PARTY’S COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY SAFETY
When we convened the BIPOC Writing Party on March 24, 2020, we envisioned a few friends coming together for a week or two to write together while waiting out the pandemic. We didn’t have a long-term plan; we didn’t even have a password to protect the Zoom meeting!
In the past 17 weeks, much has happened in the nation (the pandemic, its especially devastating toll on low-income and working class Black, Brown and Indigenous communities, protests against White supremacy and state-sponsored murder of Black people), and BIPOC Writing Party has grown into a real community.
We now have a website and a mailing list of over 170 people in 3 countries; we’ve had seven guest hosts and counting, members have donated over $1,000.00 for us to be able to pay Black and Indigenous guest hosts; members have launched a new reading series; the group has been highlighted on Chinese television news; members have volunteered to help with tech, so the co-facilitators can focus on facilitation. This is incredibly exciting, and it also means that we find ourselves with duties and concerns we hadn’t anticipated.
We’d like to keep BIPOC Writing Party an open and safer space for anyone who self-identifies as Black, Indigenous, Person of Color and wants to write in community. As BIPOC is a huge designation, encompassing communities with very different cultural styles, modes of expression, and shifting privileges and vulnerabilities, it’s inevitable that misunderstandings will arise, despite our best intentions.
We ask that all members practice respect, kindness, and non-violence in their verbal and written communication. BIPOC Writing Party will not tolerate harassment, discrimination, or other forms of abuse including racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, misogyny, or intolerance against individuals of any other marginalized status.
We want BIPOC Writing Party to be a space for those who have traditionally been silenced and marginalized. That being said, during the break or share, we may have to make a call to interrupt you for such reasons as you’re going on too long, we’re aware that your content is potentially causing emotional distress to community members, or we’re worried about your safety.
If your share contains any violent content, we ask that you give a brief content warning before you start reading so that members may turn off their mics.
We want members to take responsibility for creating this community together. Any member is welcome to comment directly to another member whose words you feel are inappropriate or upset you. We suggest you talk about how you feel, and not assume what the other person intended. If you’re feeling unsafe, you may also privately message Faith or Serena (not the guest host, please), to apprise us of the situation and after taking appropriate action, we may invite members to stay after the share to discuss as a community.
We’re communities in progress, trying to come together during a challenging time. We appreciate your forgiveness and understanding.
Faith & Serena
July 13, 2020