Our Safe Space Process

Snippet of a photo by Robbie Sweeny at the  Black Joy  anthology release

Snippet of a photo by Robbie Sweeny at the Black Joy anthology release

What is our safe space statement?

White supremacy and white supremacist-capitalist values permeate this country, including every state, county, city, and political persuasion. This includes the Bay Area. Illustrations of this range from the more obvious neo-nazi hate groups to all-white reading lineups, white terrorist shootings to labeling racial equity work in the literary community as censorship, mass incarceration to the voices most often published. Nomadic Press unequivocally stands against all iterations of white supremacy.

We are works in progress, continually doing the work of internally dismantling white supremacist values that have been inherited by virtue of being in the US. Simultaneous with this internal work, Nomadic Press utilizes a racial equity lense (as proposed by Race Forward) to dismantle white supremacy within publishing and the literary communities in which we work. We are not perfect, and we are always trying to be better.

Nomadic Press events are active, real-time safe spaces for those who have been intentionally silenced and marginalized, and we will work to ensure that the marginalized continue to take their rightful place in our communities.

Direct and timely non-violent communication and de-escalation techniques will be utilized to privately call in instances of racism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, or misogyny whether in the content of one's reading or in one's interactions with members of the community. If, after being called in privately for a mediation, a community member is unwilling to acknowledge and address the harm they have caused, we will protect the safety of this space by revoking a reader's access to the microphone. We encourage community members to come to us if someone has violated these guidelines away from the microphone. If the situation warrants (i. e., instances of sexual predation, violence, or threats of violence), we will make the information public to inform our communities of the present danger.

We are communities in progress. We must be better, always, and we ask that we work together to ensure that the safety of our most vulnerable members is prioritized above all else.

How Does the statement operate in Practice?

Our Safe Space Statement is a “call in” mediation process rather than a “call out” process. This step-by-step process has emerged out of a persistent need for clarity around how our safe space statement operates. All mediations are handled through a third-party, impartial mediator with another observer present, and everything said within the mediation is considered confidential and will not be shared. While it is up to the discretion of each of the parties involved as to whether or not to share the details of the mediation, we will advise against sharing as this may likely only serve to further feed the conflict rather than move it closer to resolution. If the mediation is a multi-meeting resolution, we will ask all people involved to agree in writing not to share anything until the mediation is complete.

Step 1

A complaint is lodged with a representative of Nomadic Press regarding an issue that bears importance on the safety and well being of fellow community members. Here are just a few examples of possible complaints (this is not an exhaustive list by any means):

  • A community member has read a piece that made you feel unsafe in a Nomadic Press reading or in another organizer’s reading

  • A community member has made unwelcome passes or misogynist statements

  • A community member has made threats against you

  • A community member has been gossiping about you and it has directly affected your involvement in the community

Step 2

All involved people are contacted to inform them that a complaint has been lodged, including the details of the complaint. The complainant and the person who has had the complaint lodged against them will be asked to agree to a time and date during which all people will sit at the same table to state their truths. The first mediation will last 1 hour with equal time allotted to each person (as much as possible). A mediator, a third-party observer, and the parties involved will be present. Real-time feedback may be offered by the third-party observer on the mediator’s work. If this is the case, the mediation will pause and adjustments will be discussed openly and in real time.

Step 3

The conversation will be handled through a mediator and the parties will not speak directly to each other unless it seems possible or helpful. Non-violent communication and de-escalation techniques will be employed to give each party ample time to speak their truths and “I” statements will be asked to be used throughout.

In instances where the complainant does not feel physically safe being in the same room as the person who is the subject of the complaint, each person will be spoken to separately and each person will hear the other’s truth through the detailed notes that the mediator has taken. However, in most instances, we will advise that people sit at the same table unless it is absolutely not possible. There is something magical and powerful in sitting across from someone and hearing their truth through a mediator, privy to body language and tone, and this is lost when each person is spoken to separately.

Step 4

STEP 5

The goal here is resolution, not being “right.” In many instances, these will be uncomfortable conversations but we will actively hold safe space for truths to be heard. Forms of resolution will vary and are largely dependent on what feels right to the parties involved. In some instances, each person will walk away with a deeper understanding of where the other is coming from; in other instances, the form of resolution may simply be to not attend the same events; yet in others, it may be impossible at that time to reach any form of resolution, but hopefully each person will have heard and seen something of the other, even if only for a brief moment. As mentioned before, in some cases resolution will not be possible, but resolution is what we will strive for.

At the end of the mediation, a need for further time together will be decided on by all parties. If further mediations are requested, a date and time for the next mediation will be set either in person or via email.

Step 6

 

This is a process in process. Updates will be made as we learn, grow, and open to new possibilities. A trained mediator will be present to manage the mediation and third-party observers will attend trainings around the Bay Area when possible and will call on elders in the fields of mediation, non-violence, and anti-racism work to constantly better ourselves and our process. We will also solicit feedback from all parties who participate in the mediation process to see where improvements can be made. Collective betterment, deepening, and new vistas of trust.

How Do I request a mediation?

To request a mediation, please fill out the following form. This will send an email to an account set aside solely for our safe space process. Someone will get back to you within 72 hours.

Your name *
Your name
Your phone number *
Your phone number
Have you read and understood the safe space process steps above? *
Please list out their first and last name(s).
Have they agreed to a mediation? *