Reproductive Justice and Intersectionality workshops: ground rules

In order to have open, respectful conversation in our workshop, it’s important for us to establish some ground rules for the group. Please review these ground rules ahead of the meeting so you will be prepared to participate in discussion.

We strongly encourage you to provide feedback on the ground rules now, as we will only have about 10 minutes to review them during our two-hour training. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions:

  • comment on this post at the bottom of the page. Discussion is welcome. Please note this site is moderated so your comment may take some time to show up. Do not submit the same comment multiple times.

Ground rules:

  • Racism, including but not limited to Islamophobia, as well as homophobia, sexism, transphobia, ableism or prejudice based on ethnicity, nationality, class, gender presentation, language ability, immigration status or religious affiliation is unacceptable and will be directly addressed by the facilitators.
  • Avoid assuming the backgrounds, opinions and identifications of other participants.
  • If you use the words “we” or “us”, please consider, and make explicit, who or what you are referring to.
  • Be aware of the space you take up, and the positions and privileges that you bring to the discussion. Notice how much you are talking and if you’re someone who likes to talk a lot, try to take a step back. Some people need more time than others to process before they start talking.
  • Foster a spirit of mutual respect: Listen to the wisdom everyone brings to the group.
  • Try to give active listening feedback to group members before responding.
  • As participants in this workshop, we are here to respect one another and cooperate, and not to disrespect or compete.
  • Workshop participants are all coming from a variety of different backgrounds and experiences. It’s OK for us to disagree.
  • Take care of yourself; if you need to use the restroom, take a break, etc., please feel free to do so.
  • Please do not discuss any personal details or information shared by participants with anyone outside the group, period.
  • Please make sure your cell phone is turned off during this session to minimize disruptions.

Some of these ground rules came from Queer Bristol Anti-Racist Reading Group and some came from Crossroads Anti-Racism Organizing and Training.

Facilitators’ agreement:

The facilitators have agreed to use the following techniques to encourage productive discussion.

  • During discussions among the full group, we will be speaking in stack so all participants can have an equal say in the conversation. Each person who wishes to speak will be added to the “stack” or list of speakers, and we will speak in order according to the stack.
  • Please do not interrupt – raise your hand as an indication that you would like to speak and you will be added to the stack. Participants are encouraged to write down their comments and questions so they don’t forget them.
  • Direct response: if you would like to respond directly and immediately to something that another group members said, raise your hand and ask “can I directly respond to that?”
  • Enough Let’s Move On (ELMO): If facilitators find the conversation has gone on too long, with respect to time and everyone’s feelings, we will need to stay in line with our agenda and monitor the productivity of the discussion. We might enforce this by politely encouraging a wrap-up or a reminder of time during drawn out discussions that aren’t as productive as they could be.
  • The facilitators will hold the group accountable to the ground rules we have established. If discussion goes in a direction which violates the ground rules, facilitators will acknowledge the unproductive exchange, offer a solution and keep the group moving on. If a workshop participant violates the session’s ground rules they may be asked by the facilitators to take time out from the group.