Welcome to the Safe Space page. A key component of our 90-Day Safe Space plan is creating transparency around safe space policies and initiatives. As we work to strengthen our safe spaces and gather resources for young people, we will share updates here.
If you would like to report an incident that happened at YCA, please email: email@example.com
With the help of our youth-led accountability team, YCA has a new set of accountable space agreements so that together we can learn about, create, and protect spaces that allow us to be accountable to one another.
As an organization, we work for the safety of all people and stories, especially marginalized communities. We are not here to call folks out, but rather call them in. As part of our efforts to build the world we want to see, we ask everyone to make sure our language and behavior abide by the standards of the accountable space agreements. Together, we contribute to safety and inclusivity by being open and agreeing to follow these guidelines:
No touching people without their consent
or otherwise discriminatory and harmful language or behavior is allowed.
These agreements will be enforced, but we welcome feedback in order to ensure that the spectrum of YCA’s community is represented and protected. If you have any comments or questions about what these words mean, please visit our website to submit a feedback form. Take a moment to review your piece for any violations of the guidelines.
We understand that language is nuanced and we want to create an intentional space for all.
- Established student-centered and paid Accountability Team to help guide plan and its execution within and beyond the 90 days
- Facilitated townhalls with partner educators, YCA alum, current LTAB captains, program participants, and community member to share information, listen, and receive feedback on the 90-Day Plan
- Completed 3rd party audit of current YCA Staff
- Completed 3rd party audit of current YCA policies and
- Completed and scheduled addtional YCA staff trainings on safe space, mandated reporting, and recognizing and preventing harm
- Created and posted a disclosure mechanism for people who have experienced harm in
- relation to YCA
- Revised YCA’s onboarding processes for new/potential employees & new/potential external partners to center transparency and safety
- Created Safe Space page on the YCA website and posted archive of YCA’s previously released public statements to promote transparency about previous situations and responses
- Formalized YCA’s escalation policies and accountablity steps/system for when harm is brought to YCA’s attention involving a YCA staff member, community member, or student
- Created YCA Accountable Space Agreements, a major revision of our previous Safe Space Agreements
- Gathered resources for students, educators, and employees to be posted on Safe Space page
- Provided healthcare for previously uninsured independent contractors
- Developed framework for Youth Council at YCA
- Developed future programmatic spaces for safe space-related programming, including survivor-centered creative spaces, consent workshops, and accountable space agreement workshops
Statements from New YCA Leadership
- Create an infrastructure that supports the thorough safe space mechanisms a youth-facing arts organization requires
- Acknowledge and recover the silences that have been created since 2013
- Address the harms such silences produced
- Build a culture of transparency and open dialogue
With the help of external partners, our initiatives include:
- Public townhalls/listening sessions
- Mandatory, routine trainings for YCA Staff
- Training topics will include consent, mentor relationship boundaries, speaking with young people about safe space, recognizing and preventing sexual abuse and grooming, mandated reporting, and more
- Trainings specific to the vulnerability inherent to working in the arts, working with youth, and, specifically, working in the arts with youth
- Training series with Creative Interventions Toolkit and Fumbling Towards Repair to develop and train staff on accountability processes
- Routine public workshops for participants
- Consent trainings
- YCA Safe Space Practices & Safe Space Creed Workshops
- Workshops on unlearning and dismantling patriarchy and rape culture
- Gather and provide resources for our students
- Mental health resources for people triggered by content shared in our spaces
- Resources for people who are experiencing or have experienced harm
- Partnering with organizations that are first responders to harm
- A full evaluation of staff practices and the safety of young people within our space by a third party firm and an immediate follow-up to address any issues revealed
- Create a disclosure mechanism for people who may experience harm in relation to YCA
- Develop publicly available accountability steps/system for when harm is brought to YCA’s attention
- YCA Town hall on March 16th 2021
- Identifying external partners
- Forming YCA’s Accountability team
- Releasing a 90 day plan timeline
Updates as of 3/24/2021
- Town hall sessions: We have completed three town halls to date with students, educators and affiliated artists that have replaced our weekly programs on Tuesdays and Saturdays
- Mental health support: We have partnered with a clinical therapist to assist with our community outreach + have outlined three categories of support mechanisms for staff around self care and mindfulness
- External partnerships: We have started conversations with potential partners to assist with our third party audit of staff practices, safe space policies, town hall planning and public workshops
- HR Policies: We have begun to outline staff policies for escalation, reporting and disclosure. This includes the release of our new email firstname.lastname@example.org, which can be used to report incidences, provide feedback on our 90 day safe space plan and ask any questions related to safe space at YCA
- We will host three town halls with our educators, national partners and programming participants
- We will release the outline of our Accountability Team structure
- Identify a partner for our Third party staff audit
30 Day Update (4/7/2021)
- We have completed seven town halls to date with students, educators and affiliate artists. We have scheduled the remaining four town halls, which will include our first public session on 4/20/2021
- We have established a paid, student-centered Accountability Team to provide consistent feedback on YCA’s safe space plan. Our first meeting was held on 4/7/2021
- We have confirmed our external partners for a third party audit of staff practices, safe space policies, mandated reporting and public workshops
- We are finalizing our staff policies for escalation, reporting and disclosure. This includes the release of our new email email@example.com, which can be used to report incidences, provide feedback on our 90 day safe space plan and ask any questions related to safe space at YCA
- We have created an immediate and ongoing safe space training plan for staff and for public programming
- We have began an internal review of the YCA Safe Space Creed
- We have posted an archive of previous public statements released by YCA
- We have partnered with a clinical therapist to assist with our community outreach + have outlined three categories of support mechanisms for staff around self care and mindfulness
60 Day Update (5/13/2021)
- Held town halls for community members who had been critical of YCA online and/or those who voiced concerns
- Reviewed our current Safe Space Creed with the youth-led Accountability Team
- Facilitated a staff review + re-draft our Safe Space Creed
- Submitted an updated Safe Space Creed for the Accountability Team to review
- Began trainings for YCA staff with Dr. Saed D. Hill, Assistant Director of Prevention and Masculine Engagement at Northwestern University
- Began developing internal policies with the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center
- Completed a 3rd party audit of safety policies for young people with the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center
- Gathered resources for students, educators, and employees
- Provided healthcare for previously uninsured independent contractors
- Developed the framework for a Youth Council at YCA
- Developed future programmatic spaces for safe space related programming
- Finalized a partnership for ongoing staff trainings on noticing and preventing sexual abuse
- Continue to have open spaces for dialogue including town halls, individual conversations, and frequent updates, especially around the 60 and 90 day marks
- Reintroduce our current staff, our new organizational structure, and our board members in order to promote transparency and understanding
- Finalize partners for and schedule mandatory, routine trainings for YCA Staff on mentorship boundaries and consent
- Finalize partners for and schedule public workshops for young people/participants on safe space topics and consent
- Finalize + submit new policies to the staff, Accountability Team, and our 3rd party partners for review
- Finalize + submit the Safe Space Creed to the staff, Accountability Team, and 3rd party partner for review
- Update the Safe Space portion of the YCA website the accountability steps/system for when harm is brought to YCA’s attention
90 Day Safe Space Plan Overview (7/9/2021)
Thank you for staying engaged with us as we navigate through this process of transforming our organization into one that is truly accountable towards creating + maintaining safer spaces for our participants. As our 90-Day plan concludes and the broader work continues, we have highlighted some of the most transformative work that we have been able to accomplish and execute over the past three months. We owe so much appreciation to our new partners and youth leaders who have helped us to reimagine YCA and were essential to encouraging us to be as transparent and intentional as possible as we move forward as a youth arts space. We are looking forward to continuing this work and have begun to institute our new policies and processes into our day-to-day operations. Our staff training will continue and we are open to a continuous exchange of feedback and ideas from our community via our email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Authored a new Interaction Code with CCAC + Resilience to provide a clear expectation of appropriate behavior while working in a youth arts space for current and future employees as well as volunteers.
- Launched a paid youth-led Accountability Team that provided invaluable feedback, suggestions and action items and served as the basis for our future Youth Advisory Council.
- Designed a sustainable annual training plan for our staff with our partner organizations previously mentioned.
- Secured an in-house BIPOC therapist, Dr. Grand McDonald, for the 2021-2022 fiscal year to provide support for our participants.
- Created a Safe Space Web Page to be used as a centralized location for our past public statements, present safe space work and future goals, as we continue to improve and update our policies, programming + processes as needed.
- Created two ways to confidentially share safe space issues: a dedicated email account and an anonymous disclosure form.
- Held 12 town halls and used the feedback and questions shared to shape our new policies, Accountable Space Agreements and staff training needs.
- Developed essential partnerships with CCAC, Resilience, CAASE, Dr Saed D Hill, Just Practice + Surviving the Mic.
- Shared our resources with our National Partner network to help fellow youth arts organizations ensure that they are equipped to further develop safe spaces for their participants.
- Revised our existing safe space creed, now titled Accountable Space Agreements, to more thoroughly account for potential harm and create space for reflecting and asking questions.
- Partnering with Resilience to provide public workshops on Consent for our participants. Stay tuned for future dates.
- Scheduled our first public workshop in partnership with Surviving the Mic (StM), which is a space specifically for survivors of sexual harm. The virtual workshop will be held on Monday, August 16th, 6 – 8PM.