Code of Conduct

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At Cave Canem, we are deeply committed to creating a space where each member of our community feels welcomed, supported, protected and valued. We  believe in operating as an organization that acknowledges, protects, and uplifts all community members. 

These statements serve as a guide to fostering an environment of creativity, growth, compassion and respect. Further, these Community Agreements are rooted in our dedication to honor the intricate and unique identities and energies that each individual brings to the Cave Canem community and to the greater community of Black poets, writers, and literary advocates.  In 2021 CC took initial steps with Flower Effect, a collaborative with expertise in racial equity, transformative justice, anti-violence and anti-oppression work,  to begin a Gender Equity and Institutional Transformation Process (GEITP). GEITP is steeped in restorative and transformative justice practices and marks the initial phase of intentionally incorporating safe space-making principles into CC’s organizational culture. The process with Flower Effect has guided CC to 1) Integrate inclusive safety and care practices into all CC programming including workshops, retreats, and public-facing spaces, 2) Establish a security team and healing justice practice space that will build capacity for community safety in all external CC convenings, and 3) Enhance data collection to support future GEITP projects and scopes, and to enable documentation of progress.

We acknowledge the importance of being aware of and transforming any behavior that contradicts our values or harms others. We stand against marginalization, rejection, threats, or harm based on factors of identity.  

To ensure that we all move together in alignment, we kindly invite our Board of Directors, Fellows, faculty, staff, participants, collaborators and community members to the challenge of embracing the following as guiding statements:

  1. Center personal wellbeing: Create an environment that allows mental, emotional, and physical well-being, free from intentional harm. Mediation is available if harm occurs.
  2. Celebrate One Mic, One Voice: Give yourself permission to listen deeply when someone is speaking, offering them your full attention and presence.
  3. Honor the humanity of Black people across all identities: Respect people’s pronouns, gender identities, and personal identities as they self-identify. Let us not assume anyone’s gender identity, sexual orientation, survivor status, economic status, background, ability, health, and so on.
  4. Speak with intention: Practice principled struggle and bring issues to the table to work toward understanding, holding tensions, complexities, and disagreements with nuance to foster clarity.
  5. Honor breadth of experience: Value every voice and make space for diverse contributions, regardless of experience, age, title, or any other factors.
  6. Trust the process: Be open to trying new ideas or approaches, even if they are unfamiliar or different from our preferences. Embrace the journey of learning and growth, understanding that outcomes may not always align with our initial expectations.
  7. Practice community care: We care for ourselves while also showing up for others and centering the needs of community members impacted by different systems of oppression. 

These statements reflect our collective commitment to creating an inclusive, nurturing, and empowering space for all. It is the starting point of a long process toward collective healing and acknowledgement that we will continue to pursue as an organization. We have protocols that will allow for individual reporting of any incident that violates our community’s guiding agreements. 

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].