Background for policy
- The organising group for the Rise up for Climate Justice aims to provide a space that is welcoming to all types of people.
- A safer space seeks to critique and dismantle oppressive power structures both within the organising space itself (at a rally or meeting, for example), and in the wider world outside the space.
- Safer spaces are not only spaces which acknowledge and work to reduce harmful and oppressive behaviour, they are also spaces where our wellbeing is valued, where mental health challenges and distress isn’t stigmatised, and where we support each other to have the care we need, as much as possible.
- Forms of oppression, domination and discrimination include but are not limited to: racism, colonialism, patriarchy, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, transmisogyny, ableism, classism, fatphobia, and ageism.
- In keeping with the rally principles, we are committed to creating safer spaces for those most affected by climate change, including tangata whenua and other Indigenous Peoples, people of colour, women, children, the working class and the economically marginalised.
- Our organising spaces are located on colonised land. We acknowledge mana whenua as the rightful kaitiaki of Aotearoa, and recognise that tino rangatiratanga was never ceded.
Covered by this policy:
- Interactions between those attending and organising Rise Up for Climate Justice events as well as interactions at associated events, such as actions, meetings, NVDA trainings and briefings.
- Interactions between those using the provided accommodation for the event
- Communications between activists via phone, email and social media channels (e.g. Facebook).
- Interactions with third parties such as police and security.
Safer Spaces and Rise Up for Climate Justice
- We want this gathering and associated events to be friendly and fun/safe and harassment-free with a positive atmosphere.
Guidelines for all participants
- Contribute to making Rise Up for Climate safe spaces enjoyable and inclusive. Look out for each other.
- Respect the physical, emotional, and mental boundaries and the safety of our fellow climate activists.
- As a participant in Rise Up for Climate, we ask that you take responsibility for your behaviour and make efforts to understand the ways in which it can affect others. We value freedom of expression, but not at the cost of alienating or harming other members and participants.
- People who are unwilling to discuss and correct their harmful behaviour will be immediately excluded from our events with no exceptions.
Dealing with conflict and disagreement
- At events like Rise Up for Climate, we come together from many groups for a common purpose. But we come from different backgrounds sometimes with quite different concerns. This can lead to tension and conflict. Sometimes this is healthy; at other times it can be harmful for one party, both or a range of parties.
- If you find yourself in a conflict which is escalating and feel safe to do so, the first priority should be to try to resolve the conflict directly with the other person.
- If you do not feel safe to do this, you may wish to seek the help of a volunteer mediator.
Doing it Together
Whether or not it directly affects you, we encourage participants to call people out for their unsafe, inappropriate and/or harassing behavior if this can be done safely. If you do feel comfortable speaking up when someone is inappropriate, we ask that you refrain from confrontational behaviour that may be more likely to spark aggression. It is more effective to quietly talk to the person and point out that they are making someone uncomfortable, rather than publicly humiliating them or using physical force.
Sometimes it could be as simple as saying: ‘I think women are just as able to fix a bike as men are’ or ‘that sounded a bit racist, can you explain what you meant?’ If a person is invading another’s personal space and failing to read body language, you could say “I don’t think they’re cool with that, would you mind giving them some space?”
- Organisers and volunteers (a safer spaces crew) will be available from 3-7 November to ensure that the event is as safe and accessible as possible.
- There will be calm and supportive spaces away from the main programme and actions. We will have a phone available to contact a range of support services if needed.
- Safer Space volunteers will be visible with orange safer spaces vests. They will be available to approach throughout the event if you feel unsafe and need support.
- Volunteer mediators will be visible with yellow mediator vests. Again, they will be available to approach throughout the event.
- Please refrain from wearing or demonstrating any symbols that may intimidate or offend other participants, e.g.
- No weapon or item that appears to be a weapon may be brought or used on the various sites of our actions.
- No alcohol/drugs/mind altering substances
Safer Spaces Policy in action
- If someone approaches a safer spaces volunteer or a rally organiser with an issue, they have a responsibility to try to resolve it. If the complainant’s consent is obtained, they may bring the issue to the organising group (or sub-group?).
- The rally organising group makes decisions by consensus, therefore this will be the method of deciding whether people should leave the space in question (such as the shared accommodation or the action itself).
- We will normally give participants a chance to change or address their behaviour or language if they have made others feel uncomfortable, threatened, or unsafe. If the person refuses to do so they will be asked to leave the space. Ensuring the space is safe and accessible for all may require people unwilling to change their behaviour to leave.
- However, depending on the nature of the complaint (such as sexual assault), a warning may not be deemed an acceptable solution and the person may be asked to leave immediately.
- When a rapid decision needs to be made, a consensus process will involve as many group members as possible in the circumstances.
- The person being asked to leave may be included in this conversation unless the group decides to ask them to sit it out.
- For the purposes of these two decisions (asking someone to leave, and whether they can take part in the conversation), the group does not require the agreement of the person(s) who has caused the issue in question.
- In a conflict, we will support and listen to those with least power. We believe survivors.
- Affinity groups from a wide range of community backgrounds will be attending the Rally for Climate Justice.
- Affinity groups are autonomous and are encouraged to protest in the manner of their choosing. Tactics may range from quiet prayer to active blockading.
- Everyone has the right to protest in the manner of their choosing, and tone policing (critiquing or attempting to suppress someone’s emotions) will not be tolerated.
- Individuals or groups who attempt to control, or are negative towards, other people’s manner of protest may be asked to leave.
- Affinity groups are expected to affirm the event principles which are:
- Kotahitanga / Unity, community
- Kaitiakitanga / Guardianship
- Manaakitanga / Care
- Whakakoha Rangatiratanga / Empowerment
- Tino Rangatiratanga / Respecting Māori sovereignty
- Mauri Ora / Wellness
- Āhurutanga / Safe spaces
Interactions with third parties and police:
- While the decision is ultimately up to individual activists, talking with security/police can put you and others at risk. Anything you say is likely to be used in intelligence profiles and can be used as evidence against you and others.
- Please be aware of this likelihood and refrain from identifying or giving information about other people (including perceived organisers) to the authorities without their explicit consent.
- This policy has been accepted by consensus by the Rise Up for Climate core organising group. It can be amended by the group at any time through a consensus process.
- While we cannot guarantee an environment free from all discrimination, the intention of our policy is to make people feel comfortable to approach us with any concerns and make wellbeing a priority.
- We hope this policy will help people understand their role in creating and maintaining a safer space.
- This safer spaces policy was informed by the respective policies of Auckland Peace Action and Peace Action Wellington. Thank you for your mahi.