Belenen (belenen) wrote,

I wanna build local community starting w monthly gathers around needs, food, play, intimacy, & touch

icon: "incitement (painting of a bald purple-skinned naked person standing among thick vines and ferns: from Joan Slonczewski's "Door Into Ocean")"

I want a monthly gather, minimum. In it I want to address structural things like donations to pay for the space (if we can't find a free one). I also want to address people's needs in general and offer time for food, time for play, time for intimacy, and time for touch. I want it to last at least 3 hours, and I want people to commit to coming to at least the structural and needs-share parts. I want a safe space where we have a set of agreements for safe behavior and we pay attention and call people on it if they are not respecting consent, or if they are making oppressive/demeaning 'jokes,' etc. I want it to not be taboo to call people out OR to make mistakes. I want mistakes handled with as much kindness and gentleness as possible, and deliberate shitwadness to result in people being immediately escorted out (with the understanding that they are allowed to return next time if they refrain from being a deliberate shitwad).

I want a rotating group of at least four people who take turns doing the structural work, but I want everyone to feel like they have a commitment to keeping the group going and to making it better with their help and their suggestions. I want people to volunteer to as MOOP fairies (people who gather up 'matter out of place,' clean and tidy) at the end of the gather, and to volunteer to be consent coaches for cuddle time, or trick teachers for play time, or facilitators for intimacy time, or labelers for food time. I want people to be willing to really invest their time, effort, and material resources to creating community. I want people to hold each other accountable with things like reminding each other to attend and to bring/do whatever they promised.

To address needs in general: I want people to write down what they need help with on numbered papers (one paper per need, not per person) and put it in a bucket. I want one person to read those needs aloud and then people to raise their hand if they can offer a gift to fill that need. On a whiteboard, we can put the number of the need with a list of the people who can fill it. The person who had the need with that number can then spot those who raised their hand, or read from the list, and later go up to whoever they feel safe receiving from, and discuss it with them. The goal is to put no one on the spot. These can be needs like a ride to the doctor, or a can opener, or a person to talk with about assault.

For food, I want it to be a potluck where each person who is able to brings enough for 1-3 people -- nourishing food, not just munchies. If everyone just brings their own dinner, that's fine. If people bring more than their own dinner, I want them to provide ingredients lists so people with food allergies can participate. For play, I want there to be space and time for people to play with flow toys, or do art, or play music together. For intimacy, I want there to be space and time for people to engage in meaningful conversations, to do exercises like eye gazing and mirroring. For touch I want there to be time and space for people to give and/or receive touch, whether passive or active.

I want this gather to be in a wheelchair-accessible, non-allergenic, temperature-controlled space with non-fluorescent lighting. I want people to be scent-free. Ideally I want there to be at least one sign interpreter, and I want people to take turns talking and leave the room if they want to have a side conversation. I want notes to be available in text format (not images).

(this is a sketch and I may edit it as I think of more things)

(crossposted to Medium)
Tags: burns, gathers, social justice / feminism, tribe

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