We are here because we REBEL. Many of us came to this movement with much appropriate anger at situations that made us feel powerless. With no space or outlets for such energy within our community, it is expressed in our marches, interactions with police, behavior towards each other, even towards ourselves.
At the moment, there is no place in any of our meetings for our emotions. That space is essential if we want a healthy atmosphere within the community. That might be a healing space, a holding space, a venting space, a sharing space, crying space, yelling space, throwing space, breaking space, laughing space, sighing space, proactive space, calming space, pressure reliving space, active listening space … perspective exchange space.
99% includes a LOT of different types of people, and there is just no way we are going to agree on a whole lot of stuff. But we can find commonalities, values we all hold with passion and commitment. Having seen some of the ideas going around in Safer Spaces, this stood out: Transformative accountability – must include community change with the ability to prevent the harm from recurring.
With that in mind, we propose we spend the next few weeks on doing something many experienced activists have been encouraging us to do – coming up with a Grievance Council proposal AS A COMMUNITY.
We propose (beginning immediately) we spend one hour of every Spokes Council and GA meeting for at least the next 3 weeks discussing the following topics in no particular order (and others as they come up);
  1. What will the grievance council address?
  2. Who will comprise the council? (would be great if Elders were involved, experienced activists, along with others from various working groups )
  3. How would we want it to function?
  4. What decisions, if any will it make?
  5. How often will it meet?
  6. How will we support its work?Will it work with outside resources/agencies?
  7. What we will do if the process does not succeed in resolving the issues we bring to it to the level tolerable for our community? (What is the worst case scenario?)
  8. Sharing of ideas already discussed in the various open space, working group and caucus meetings held on this topic so far.
  9. Hearing from experts (elders, and seasoned activists as well as mental health, security, etc…) on the subject (restorative justice, transformative, other ways of dealing with anger etc…)
We can collect the answers in categories based on the questions above, and base our community agreement and Grievance Council model on what is collected. We know many groups are working on this idea already. Those groups meet at various times, making it harder to keep track of where in the process we are. We believe just knowing that a process is actively being worked out, and being able to take part in that process without having to fit in yet another meeting, or google group (also sources of stress for some), will ease the frustrations of many.
Violence is the result of pent up anger and frustration, and as we have witnessed, it refuses to be ignored or postponed.

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