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YCA Statement on Community Accountability: January 7, 2019
 
We believe survivors.

 

It is from this belief in their accounts and experiences of violence that Young Chicago Authors,
as an organization, strives to engage in a survivor-centered process.
YCA understands that it has a responsibility to take action to prevent sexual harassment and
violence. We are committed to creating ongoing professional development for staff and
trainings about issues relating to sexual violence. We have the utmost respect for the work of
Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Rape Victims Advocates and A Long Walk Home, with
whom we will continue to partner to access invaluable knowledge and experience in this work.
Through these partnerships, YCA has integrated leadership models, codes of conduct, and
trauma-informed practices into its daily work and will continue to build on that work.
We value the survivors’ needs. We value their desire to enter into a process of community
accountability or to opt out.

 

We have engaged in this process several times and in different ways over the past six years.
Sparked by a series of allegations of sexual violence we received about a long-time artistic
collaborator of YCA 6 years ago and compounded by allegations about other artists affiliated
with YCA, we began developing processes to find a way forward for survivors and the accused.
Paramount is the privacy of survivors; this effort is focused on their needs.

 

YCA’s internal process, when we receive allegations of harassment or violence, is to suspend
professional ties with individuals accused, request that those individuals not attend YCA spaces, and
conduct an internal investigation to gather information. Gathering information informs the next steps
in our process, which has and could involve any number of outcomes from implementing internal
restorative frameworks to severing ties with the accused for the long term. This process is imperfect
and we are committed to continued learning including having better and more transparent external
communications.Our intention to create safe spaces for young people to develop their writing and
artistic craft and provide a platform to share their stories is an ongoing process fundamental to YCA’s
mission. We are committed to continued learning and training to develop the structures and
supports that hold space in the safest ways. We will continue to take measures to address
instances of violations when we become aware of them. We will be holding spaces for young
people, artists and educators to convene and share ways to create a culture of violence
prevention and will be announcing dates in the coming weeks.

 

If you have information about instances of sexual violence within the YCA community, or have
questions about our process we sincerely encourage you to contact YCA Executive Director
Rebecca Hunter at rebecca@youngchicagoauthors.org.

 

 

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