Click here to read the Community Agreement, created by the Equity Team. This will take you directly to a public Google Doc owned by the Equity Team. This dynamic document may be improved by the Equity Team without notice, so please read it often.
The Buy Nothing Project mission is to build an international network of hyper-local gift economies where people can give, receive, and share freely, without strings attached or any expectation of reward except the joy of sharing, and where the real wealth being built is a more resilient, interconnected and interdependent community. This cannot truly happen until we address the poison of racism and other forms of oppression and start to develop an actively anti-racist and anti-oppression culture.
At the end of 2019, an Equity Team was created to examine this goal. The Buy Nothing Equity Team is led by DiDi Delgado who is a local Buy Nothing Project leader in New York. DiDi is an author, international activist and anti-racist educator from Boston, MA. The team is also led by Katherine Valenzuela Parsons who is a Buy Nothing Global Team member and anti-racist advocate originally from Texas but now leads a local Buy Nothing group in central Virginia. Daria Kelsey from Tacoma, WA who is also a Buy Nothing Global team member later joined as an Equity Team lead to assist in the vast efforts necessary to do this difficult work. The Equity Team consists of Buy Nothing Project group members, local admins, Development Team members and the Global Team who are from various places around the world. Every attempt has been made to center the voices of the members of the Equity Team and many other local admins and members who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color, and other systemically oppressed people in our larger society.
Below are a few questions that we’ve been working on answering as we attempt to improve the impact of the Buy Nothing Project.
– How can we assist groups to become more sustainable and more equitable gift economy communities?
– How can we address racism, inequity, and injustice through our giving, receiving, and sharing?
– How can groups consider the safety and well being of all people but especially our systematically oppressed members when giving, receiving, and sharing?
– How can groups become a brave space for discussions about white supremacy, racism, classism, ableism and other forms of oppression and specifically how these issues show up in the giving, receiving, and sharing that happens in the Buy Nothing group?
– Do our group’s boundaries follow old redlines or other official or unofficial segregation boundaries? If so, can we reconfigure our group to cross these lines to form a new sharing group neighborhood identity that doesn’t gentrify or disrespect existing neighborhood identities?
– Is this group safe and welcoming to Black, Indigenous and other People of Color, disabled members, LGBTQI+ members and other diverse intersections, both as members and as admins? Does our group fully include all neighborhood members as participants and leaders, however individuals desire to participate?
– How can we encourage people of privilege to take their responsibilities seriously, educating themselves, listening to the opinions and suggestions of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and other systematically oppressed people and act upon them?
When the Buy Nothing Project started in 2013, the founding team created a “Keep it Civil” rule. As the movement grew, it became very clear that the word civil was being used by various members, local admins, and support team volunteers as a tool of silencing in the guise of respectability, as is done by many other people outside the Buy Nothing Project. The co-founders began working to eradicate the word “civility” from the Buy Nothing Project vocabulary in late 2018. We would like to refer to Coshaundra Dillard’s article to further articulate the concerns with civility: https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/who-decides-whats-civil
The co-founders began working to address the destructive impact of “civility” on people participating in the Buy Nothing Project in late 2018 and worked with the Buy Nothing Project Global Team to write a new Code of Conduct. Still, this new document contained several uses of the word “civil” and “civility.” The co-founders removed the Code of Conduct from the Buy Nothing Project website in early 2020.
To replace the problematic Code of Conduct, the Equity Team created this Community Agreement over a period of several months in early 2020. This new document was provided to Local Admins for use in existing groups before being published here on the website. The Equity Team and Buy Nothing Project founding team hope that local group leaders, members, and support team volunteers will be empowered to use this document in their Buy Nothing groups to establish a more inclusive and equitable place to achieve the goals and mission of Buy Nothing Project gift economies.