Community Agreements

Community Agreements

DSA National Leadership Training, People’s Summit

  1. Progressive Stack – The Facilitator keeps a list of names from people who raise their hand

    Progressive Stack is a form of leading discussions which involves a facilitator keeping a list of names of people who wish to speak. The facilitator scans the group during discussion and if someone wishes to speak, they raise their hand and catch the facilitator’s eye. The facilitator nods and makes eye contact to indicate the person is now put on the list to speak, and then the person can put their hand down so it does not distract other discussion participants. However, the facilitator does not simply write a list of names in the order that people raise their hand. Rather, if someone who has not spoken raises their hand, they go to the top of the list. If someone who is of an oppressed group raises their hand, they go to the top of the list unless they have already contributed significantly to the discussion.

  2. Why Am I Talking – When in discussion, please ask yourself “Why am I talking (WAIT)?”

    We have a limited amount of time for discussion and to accomplish the tasks before us. When in discussion, please ask yourself “Why am I talking (WAIT)?” Consider whether or not what you want to say has already been said, whether what you want to say is on topic or if there’s a better time and place to say it, and other methods for showing how you feel about the conversation (nodding your head, etc.)

  3. Step Up, Step Back – When you speak, after you make your point, let others speak

    Help create a safe and inclusive space for everybody. Please respect others by recognizing how often, much, and loud you’re speaking and whether or not you’re dominating conversation. Step back to leave space for others to voice their opinions and feelings. If the facilitator of the meeting asks you to wrap up, recognize that you should step back. This especially applies to participants who have privileged backgrounds. On the other hand, if you don’t often speak up, we encourage you to do so now!

  4. Use “I” Statements – Speak from your perspective, rather than assuming that of other people

    Speak for yourself and from your own experience.

  5. One Diva, One Mic – One person speaks at a time

    Many of us will have different opinions on matters. However, speaking while others are talking or adding comments when they cannot respond appropriately does not build community. If you have a disagreement, wait for your turn to address it. This is basic politeness.

  6. Listen (Don’t Wait to Talk) – Genuinely pay attention to what others say

    Actively listen to others. When someone makes a point, repeat what you heard, and summarize.
    Assume Best Intentions, But Challenge – Give people the benefit of the doubt, but don’t be afraid to challenge others when they say something you disagree with.

  7. Assume good faith in each other.

    Ask clarifying questions like “did you mean X” or “what makes you say that” to get more information. Encourage yourself and others to maintain a positive attitude, honor the work of others, avoid defensiveness, be open to legitimate critique and challenge oppressive behaviors in ways that help people grow. We want to “call each other in” rather than calling each other out — in other words, if you are challenging someone’s ideas or behavior, do it respectfully, and if you are being challenged, receive it respectfully.

  8. Oops, Ouch – Acknowledge when you make a mistake

    Remember, mistakes will be made, nobody is perfect.

Note – These rules are good practice in any organizing space, not just DSA meetings/events!