Open Hours Space Agreements

After hosting the first-ever Open Hours last month, I had a great opportunity to reflect on what kind of space I am creating with hosting these events. I decided there was a need for more boundaries and some light facilitation, something I hadn’t previously planned for, but here we are! Below are the current Open Hours Space Agreements. They are a work in progress and if you have any feedback for me about them, please reach out.

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Space Agreements, think of them as a code of conduct or community guidelines. They’re a way for us to agree on how to treat each other well as we learn and do herbcraft alongside each other.

Open Hours Space Agreements:

  1. Use everyone’s stated pronouns and respect the personal right to define one’s own gender identity.
  2. Speak about other people’s health care or health choices in a way that is affirming or uplifting.
  3. This is a safer space for people of all racial identities, LGBTQIA+ people, people of all immigration statuses, ages, and physical and mental abilities. Please be mindful and respectful of all these groups in your speech and actions while attending Open Hours.
  4. Avoid making assumptions about or asking pointed questions about any aspect of anyone’s identity.

Some further info on these agreements:

for #1: My herbal practice prioritizes creating safe healing and learning spaces for queer, trans, and nonbinary people. As a nonbinary person myself, I recognize the importance of affirming spaces in a discipline that often relies on a gender-essentialist idea of health. My dream is that one day herbalism will be entirely liberated from the gender binary paradigm! Let’s work together to create this reality now.

for #2: We are all doing our best to take care of ourselves, and we all have access to different levels of care and health-related education due to factors like our financial means, economic/class background, and our racial or gender identities and physical and mental abilities. When you observe differences in health choices between you and others, remember to keep in mind your differences in financial means and access to education, etc. before passing judgement. This will help us create a safer space for everyone.

for #3: As the space facilitator, I take the lead on closing conversations that are hurtful to any of these groups, with clarification about why they are hurtful, if needed.

for #4: As an example: asking someone, especially if you are white and asking a person of color, a question like “Where are you from?” or “Where did you grow up?” may seem harmless to you, but can come off as pointedly racist. When in doubt, let people share only what they’re comfortable sharing about themselves.

I want to note here that it’s of course ok for mistakes to happen when it comes to these agreements. I am not expecting perfection, I’m simply establishing a precedent for kind thoughtfulness and recognition that other people’s experiences are different from our own.

That said, I reserve the right to refuse entry to Open Hours to anyone. People unable to respectfully follow these agreements will be asked to leave the space.

Some Additional COVID Safety Info:

I am now asking attendees to wear a mask as the Delta variant becomes more of a threat to community health in our area. I will also be masked the whole time.

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