[TheThinkTank] Safe space policy

Plan B nolabikeproject at gmail.com
Fri Jun 7 12:51:34 PDT 2013


Basically we try to make sure people feel welcome and no one feels 
exclusion at Plan B. That being said, we're in New Orleans and 
culturally, it's acceptable for shenanigans to happen that may not be 
acceptable in other spaces, which is fine, as long as it's consensual 
and no one feels uncomfortable. (Partners being flirty, etc.) Off-colors 
comments of a racist or classist nature are completely untolerated. 
Furthermore, our methods for dealing with disruption have gotten a lot 
better. If people are wasted or otherwise intoxicated and pose a threat 
to themselves, others, or our tools, someone will very directly tell 
them that it's time to leave and invite them back when their sober/not 
pissed off. Once in a while we have someone combative or violent. As a 
rule, we generally don't call cops unless the situation is way out of 
control or there is the threat of imminent physical danger. It's pretty 

One thing that's tricky is that we have a few older (55+) males that are 
regulars and are misogynists and this is something that has been 
culturally bred into them. We counter it as best we can and most of us 
are understanding that we just need to call them out politely when we 
see their "Daddy knows best" attitude emerging. It's tricky, because 
while not entirely blameless, you have to take into account differences 
in age, culture, and worldview. If the shit gets out of hand, we 
certainly make them leave.

As a final note, we're pretty anti-violent. However, when someone 
punched me in the face a few years ago, I was the first one to pick up a 
pipe-wrench and defend myself. At the time the shop was full of people 
and everyone was terrified. After "an eye for an eye" took place (Sorry, 
there's no cheek-turning in self defense), he was dragged out of our 
space and kindly deposited on the sidewalk. We then locked the doors and 
told him the cops were on the way (they weren't). He left quickly 

I've seen the guy a few times since then and he always threatens to kill 
me. Meh. It's been tried repeatedly.

I guess my answer is that keeping your shop a safe space and the tactics 
to enforce that are almost entirely situational. I suppose our policy 
would be "Be nice. Be firm. Don't let anyone kick your ass."

Or, as we like to say in New Orleans, "Be Nice or Leave."

Victor Pizarro
Project Organizer
Plan B, The New Orleans Community Bike Project

On 6/7/2013 2:35 PM, Geoffrey Bercarich wrote:
> Can I ask all collectives to give their interpretation of a safe space 
> and a method to maintain a safe or safer space.
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