Lots of people are funding community and creating amazing community spaces. Below are some things to consider. This is just the beginning of what we hope to build to support organizing and community building. This list is not exhaustive or comprehensive at all, and if you have resources you think we should include: PLEASE SEND. These are some of the questions to consider in an effort to make spaces more accessible.
***We recognize that there are many community-based orgs in existence under other umbrellas. In many places, having a sex worker-only group within those spaces is worthwhile and can be less of a lift. We are currently not listing groups here until we have figured out a way to not expose them to increased surveillance at this particular moment.***
- Safer Spaces: Safety can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. While there is no spaces that is entirely safe for everyone and anyone, having community agreements and a common understand of what that means from the outset, including within announcements, can help to set the tone. Below are some rad recommendations for what that could look like.
- Safer Spaces Policy and Community Agreements, from the Anti-Oppression Network
- Right now, the question of who is in the room is a big one. Lay out for people what the concerns are (law enforcement, people who are anti-sex work, journalists) and be transparent about the screening process for who is in the room. Be clear about what to expect from the space, and what not to expect – trust develops over time.
- Is your space for sex workers only? Sex workers and trusted allies? Everyone who RSVPed? All of these spaces have value – but be clear on your policy and stick to it.
- Can I get to your meeting? Not every place has easy public transit. Some things to consider to make your space more accessible.
- It’s ideal to get a spot close to public transportation, and promote how to get there in invites.
- You can make metrocards/passes available to folks who may not be able to afford the public transit costs to get there.
- If it’s difficult to get to your space, offer a place in your invitation to arrange ride shares.
- What about my kids? Since kids can often be a challenge for meeting attendance, being able to offer childcare can help folks with kids. Local childcare collectives or supportive ally organizations can be a great place to find help.
- Will I be able to get the tech stuff? If you have to run with hackers to understand the recommendations to stay safe online, they aren’t super helpful. Step-by-step guides, varying levels of security and accessible language make recommendations actionable.
- Are we supporting multi-lingual spaces? One huge challenge is language accessibility (this website is right now only in English). If translation is an option, it can be a powerful step towards making spaces more accessible. And we’re calling ourselves on this one, too.
- What’s your bathroom situation like? Having gender neutral restrooms can create a safer space for folks who are trans and gender non-conforming. If the space where you’re holding your meeting doesn’t have that, perhaps ask if it would be cool to mark a single stall restroom as gender neutral.
- Are we addressing accessibility needs? Make it a priority to choose spaces that are wheelchair-accessible. Advertise that on any publicity about the meeting or event. Consider encouraging people to refrain from wearing scents. Ask folks at the beginning of the meeting what they need to stay engaged–maybe it’s a break to stretch every 45 minutes, maybe it’s encouraging people to bring their service animals.
- I don’t have an ID. Some non profits and service providers are located in buildings where security asks for an ID at the front. If that’s where y’all are, consider talking to security about how that might not be ideal for your meeting, and possibly have someone waiting at check in to greet people and point them in the right direction.
- I’m sober – is that cool? Many of these are social spaces – which is awesome. Consider your policy on alcohol and substance use, and if it’s in a bar, consider that it might not be a great space for a meeting.