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TL;DR: Be kind. Be mindful. Be transformative.
Tiffany Cabán’s candidacy for Queens District Attorney is powered heavily by grassroots volunteer energy. As Tiffany’s campaign changes the way justice is done in Queens, it is imperative that her campaign reflects the way we work towards that goal. This campaign is focused on creating an empowering space for people who want to make this transformative change a reality.
For Tiffany to win, we need a coalition of people coming from diverse backgrounds, upbringing, and forms of organizing. Tiffany Cabán is proud that our team is led overwhelmingly by women, people of color, and a huge LGBTQIA+ contingent. We each bring a unique perspective to the table, and we want everyone to have a rewarding campaign experience -- albeit the urgency of the transformative change we want to bring to the Queens DA’s office.
As we are building a community of people dedicated to transform justice in Queens, it is important for us to have community agreements. These agreements inform and direct how we relate to each other in celebration of - not despite of - our diversity of backgrounds. This is a completely grassroots effort and a healthy culture is very important to the campaign.
If you are working with the campaign in one form or another, you agree to the following:
- Care and Advocate for yourself. As a public defender, Tiffany knows the importance of self-care in promoting zealous advocacy and preventing burnout. If you feel tired and need to step back, let folks know and the team will carry you through it and will support you. We want you to always be safe and healthy. The fight for transformative change is a marathon!
Take a breather while canvassing. Also, please be comfortable in saying ‘no’ to asks that is beyond your capacity.
- Celebrate yourself and each other! Cabán for Queens is led by volunteers, run by the desire to uplift our communities and create transformative and restorative justice in Queens.
From thanking someone for bringing in food, to high fiving someone when they return from their knock shift, to thanking a supporter for joining the campaign, every action done in this campaign is an act of love for Queens and the folks negatively affected by the Criminal Justice system. It deserves appreciation and recognition.
This collective and collaborative work in many areas, including policy, field, data, creative, tech, fundraising, social media, can only be accomplished when many people —most of them volunteers— with lots of various skills work together. So we encourage you to give compliments! It helps folks feel appreciated and seen — It’s the kind of emotional lift that can be easy and has a massive return.
- We uplift others. We uplift Tiffany’s platform of transformative justice and discourage bringing others down. The campaign’s goal is to support Queens communities and have honest discussions about issues that truly affect the lives of our neighbors, families, and friends. This vital community dialogue requires respectful and productive disagreement. Our vision is to create people-powered justice that works for all. We do it by out-hustling and out-organizing everyone else - and uplifting our allies.
- We promote patience and honesty in the face of incomplete information. Our team is distributed and decentralized, and sometimes information may be incomplete. Information spread is key, however we must have patience for any missing/incomplete information. The campaign is working really hard to create a process by which everyone will know what’s happening at the campaign at any time. We empower you to ask questions. Furthermore, coordination can sometimes be messy. It could be a systemic problem of which you can be the solution! Which leads to our next point:
- We lean on curiosity rather than anger. There will be times when we will be upset within the campaign, whether things are really confusing, folks are not carrying their weight, or someone is just being annoying! These things happen - urgency and confusion can sometimes be a form of oppression, and it brings out negative feelings.
Productive conflict is welcome. Ask hard questions while assuming best intent.
Let’s keep each other accountable — but also lean in on figuring out if it is a systemic issue that can be solved through dialogue. Take a step back, reflect, and approach every conflict as a growth opportunity. Remember, we all want Tiffany to win - and so we encourage you to embrace that everyone is coming from a place of kindness.
- We are mindful of the voices that are not represented. More often than not, we organize and set up discussions in an ad hoc fashion as is the nature of any grassroots effort. Sometimes, voices that are needed in the room are not always available at the time of discussion or may have been accidentally left out. Please be mindful of those voices, and be sure to bring them in.
- We honor consent. Emotions and energy run high on a campaign, and in our rush to celebrate each other and our victories, we always want to be mindful of consent. We do this to honor the physical and emotional needs of everyone contributing the campaign. To this end, we encourage you to check in with folks before touching them (even for a high five), interrupting work with conversation or assigning them to tasks. This lets us mindfully engage with folks, while also creating opportunities for folks to set boundaries or enthusiastically engage, as suits them, their bodies and their needs.
Your Safety is very Important to Us
We do not condone any form of racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia, islamophobia, anti-semitism, or any form of discrimination towards any group of people. We also do not condone physically or sexually threatening anyone in the campaign or outside of it.
Harassment includes, but is not limited to:
- Verbal comments that reinforce social structures of domination related to gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age, or religion.
- Sexual images in public spaces
- Deliberate intimidation, stalking, or following
- Inappropriate physical contact
- Unwelcome sexual attention, including but not limited to, verbal advances or commentary (“catcalling”), touching, or physical intimidation
- Advocating for, or encouraging, any of the above behavior
If at any time while working with the campaign you feel unsafe, harassed, or abused, by anyone — whether from a staffer, volunteer, or a constituent — please reach out to anyone of the the following people immediately. These are our faces and contact information, and we will make sure it is confidential, that you feel safe, heard, and seen.