Sample Community Agreements
Assume good faith but embrace accountability
- Even if you disagree, assume good intentions. However, if someone is doing something harmful, even unintentionally, call them in. Remember to hold yourself, and each other, to account.
- Progressive Stack is a method of ensuring that voices that are routinely submerged, discounted, or excluded from political conversations get a chance to be heard. In practice, it means prioritizing the input of people with marginalized identities as well as those of individuals who don’t speak often.
- Listening to your comrades means not speaking over them.
- 2 minute limit on speaking. If you run out of time, finish your thought but do it quickly.
Speak from your own experience (Use I statements)
- Avoid using the “royal we” – you only represent yourself in internal deliberations.
Prioritize a positive vision
- Be solution focused. Critiques are welcomed, but should also have suggestions for improvements
- Accept that there will be disagreement with regard to tendencies. We can still be comrades!
- Act and assume good faith. Comrades are not duplicitous. Trust each other.
- Deal with each other directly. Don’t speak ill of each other
Honoring and prioritizing accessibility
- Using a mic when one is available
WAIT – Why Am I Talking?
- Be an active listener. Aspire to listen more than you speak
- Pause before deciding to speak and consider what your voice is meant to contribute.
- Reasons to consider not speaking:
- Talking for approval and to be overly helpful
- Talking to control and take charge of the situation
- Talking to complain and whine about all you don’t like
ELMO – Enough, Let’s Move On
- The objective with “Enough, Let’s Move On” is to acknowledge that the point has been made and get everyone back on track. E.L.M.O. allows you to recognize a person’s issue without allowing an entire group’s time to be taken hostage by a single topic.
- Respecting everyone’s time by keeping the agenda moving also helps prevent other attendees from mentally (or literally) checking out. Building your foundation on principled and respectful engagement will provide clarity once you begin developing points of unity, and make discussion less personally contentious, enabling more intellectually rigorous discussion. It will also help cultivate an understanding of points of unity as concrete questions. We deeply believe the rest of this process flows directly from how you develop this principled form of engagement. Take your time with these agreements and be thoughtful.