Creating a Safe and Welcoming Space by Joshua Kogut
“In order for any discussion to be productive, you must create an open and relaxed atmosphere.”
-Anti-Oppression discussion guidelines
The idea of creating a “safe space” has increasingly come up in our social culture. People want to create spaces that are inclusive, welcoming, kind and accessible to everyone, because everyone deserves those kinds of spaces. I think more people have accessed spaces that do not feel good to them, and are trying to create spaces that don't mirror those experiences. This is a great thing! Before we get into the how to do that, let's get into talking about what a safe and inclusive space is.
A space and inclusive space, is a place where anyone can access, regardless of whatever identities they hold. It sounds simple, but often doesn't play out that way in the world. For example, if your space doesn't have a ramp, it automatically excludes anyone who needs a ramp to access the space. This makes a space unwelcoming and emotionally unsafe for a disabled person to access. Another example is if a trans person tries to access a space and is made to feel uncomfortable because of their gender identity. This excludes trans people who want and need to access the space.
Questions to ponder: When have you felt unsafe or excluded in a space? What did it look, sound, and feel like? How did you know you were unwelcome? Read More