Pittsburgh DSA Community Agreements

  • When participating in group conversations, be respectful to others and aware of your own privilege
    • Progressive Stack
      • “Taking stack” is keeping track of who is next in line to speak, either by lining up at a microphone, or by someone taking notes about who has raised their hand.
      • To do this progressively, people who have not spoken yet and those who often get overlooked due to their identities (race, gender, etc.) should be allowed space at the front of the queue to speak
  • When online, raise your hand to speak and stay muted when you’re not talking
  • ASL Clap
    • Instead of cheering and clapping loudly, raise your hands and wiggle your fingers to show support, like in American Sign Language
    • This is better for comrades who have noise sensitivities, and also helps events move more quickly by removing breaks for applause.
  • Make your contributions to the conversation worthwhile without speaking for others
    • Why Am I Talking?
      • We all have limited time which we are volunteering to this organization, so we should respect one another’s time.
      • Think about what you are saying
        • Is this a new or important point? 
        • Is it necessary for everyone to hear this now, or should I bring this up with an individual later?
  • Step Up, Step Back
    • When you are recognized or it is your turn to speak, use your time wisely and be sure that you are heard
      • Including using the microphone, if possible–not everyone can hear without it.
      • If there is no microphone, be sure to project and speak slowly, especially if someone is participating via phone or an online chat.
    • When it is no longer your turn, let others speak so you can consider their contributions.
  • Active Listening
    • Don’t just be quiet while others make points–actively listen to your comrades. Their input may change what you think or how you respond.
  • Use “I” Statements
    • Speak for yourself using your own experience. No one can speak for you unless you permit them.
    • Don’t conflate personal experiences with experiences that aren’t your own, don’t assume you “know what it’s like” to belong to a certain identity only because you’ve experienced a kind of oppression
  • Don’t talk over your comrades
    • Wait your turn to speak. Do not butt in or interrupt someone. Let others finish their thoughts before it is your turn.
  • Offer to help if you can
    • Don’t let comrades work alone–if you have the capacity, offer to assist (but of course be respectfully of declined assistance.) Challenge yourself to be aware of the needs of others and the needs of the space we occupy.
  • Conflict can happen within an environment of mutual respect, but abuse cannot
    • Value Respect over Civility
      • Do not be paralyzed by politeness or finding the perfect word. We are all learning and unlearning as democratic socialists.
      • Do not tone police others. Let people express themselves in the ways they can. 
      • The two following main points relate to this one, and should be balance with it.
      • Conflict is not abuse
  • No One Knows Everything
    • Together, we can know a lot! But we need many opinions and contributions to be a truly democratic and fair organization. Be open to receive multiple inputs from others, and seek ways to make giving input accessible.
  • Don’t let abusive or threatening behavior go unchecked
    • If you see something dangerous or suspicious, be sure to alert a safety marshal or someone else who can assist.
  • Assume Good Intent, But Challenge
    • We are here to do good in our communities. But we can make mistakes. If someone says or does something which is problematic, consider discussing with them how to address it.
  • Acknowledge when someone hurts you
    • Acknowledge when you or someone makes a mistake that causes harm or oversteps a boundary, and work together to come to a harmonious solution.