1. Be respectful, kind, and open to new perspectives.
This guideline is pretty self explanatory, but truly is one of the most important. One particular facet regarding respect is: respect people’s boundaries and privacy.
2. Respect Access Needs (Even when they conflict).
Respect your own access needs: If you feel that an access need is not being met, please let this be known, either to the general group or in private to one of the Alliance’s leadership team.
Respect other’s access needs: Do not actively hinder another’s participation in Alliance functions.
Conflicting access needs, communication styles, and so on will exist. Such situations are not inherently negative, and should still be brought up and possible solutions/compromises explored.
3. Be inclusive – we are a diverse group. We are an intersectional organization – this means we all have multiple identities and backgrounds.
You do not have to agree with everything another Alliance member says or feels. But you do have to respect them.
As we are working to address ableism, we must give particular effort to be inclusive of those with other marginalized identities. Racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, or any similar -ism or -phobia will not be tolerated in Disability Alliance spaces.
If you do not understand something, please politely ask. Do be willing to do your own research.
4. Role of Allies: Nothing About Us, Without Us
Our group slogan comes from the broader disability movement. It is a pushback against situations where non-disabled individuals discuss disability related issues without any disabled people in the room/involved. In the Disability Alliance, we wish to change this script so that disabled people are the ones leading conversations on disability.
This can also apply to other situations and identities. Since we are a cross-disability group, even among those of us with disabilities, we are not all the same. Don’t try & speak for someone about their disability if you do not have it.
5. Make Space, Take Space
This guideline is discussing space not in the physical sense, but rather in the sense of who is contributing and able to contribute to a conversation or project. It is a reminder that, if you feel you are communicating a ton and taking up a lot of space, try and step back. If you feel you haven’t communicated or participated much, feel free to take a part. If you feel you are unable to participate due to an unmet access need, please let a leadership team member know. We should all be making conscious efforts towards inclusion while not forcing anyone to participate.