DC Burners Consent Culture Statement

Background

The DC Burner Community is one of the most welcoming, creative, inspired, and motivated communities in the world. We play together, dance together, build art together, and actively work to create spaces in which we are able to share – and spread – the ethos of compassion and radical inclusion.

Within this community there is also a widely acknowledged, though sometimes hard to explain, feeling of trust. This trust extends to strangers and friends alike, and many of us freely express our joy of living and loving through physical displays of affection.

For many of us, these displays may be a long hug, an intimate touch, or a passionate kiss. And within our individual circles of friends, these demonstrations of affection mostly go uncontested. However, when they are unwelcome, it’s important that such instances are acknowledged and addressed.  

The time to bring the conversation about consent, assault, and the limits of radical inclusion to the forefront of the DC Burner Community is now.

 

Our Goal

Bring together the large, diverse group of community leaders, artists, event planners, theme camp organizers, and participants related to and within the DC Burner Community to do the following:

  • Build and fortify a culture of respect and consent

  • Encourage respectful discourse on a challenging and sensitive topic

  • Provide an open platform for members of the community to share their thoughts.

  • Explore and implement best practices around creating protocols to respond to complaints, concerns, or questions posed by any member of the community.

  • Research and collect information about professional organizations and resources that can support members of our community in times of need.

  • Explore methods to facilitate mediation between affected parties.

  • Empower individual artistic organizations, burner organizations, intentional communities, and theme camps to develop their own procedures and policies.

 

What We Will Not Do:

  • Accept abuse in any of its guises, including (but not limited to) threats of violence, acts of physical or sexual abuse, or bullying.

  • Assume that one group's’ decisions automatically apply to all.

  • Expect community groups to replace or circumvent existing legal structures, playing the role of judge and juror.

  • Make decisions based on rumor or hearsay.

 

How You Can Help

  • Contact the DC area Regional Contacts at washingtondc@burningman.org if you want to help gather resources and if you want to be an active part of this dialogue as it moves ahead. Let us know you want to join the conversation and how you’d like to be involved.

  • Continue to have open and honest dialogue within your camps and crews about the issues of boundaries and consent. Communication is critical.

 

Next Steps

We anticipate that the coming months will involve quite a bit of research about best practices. We anticipate that we will identify one person or a group of people to spearhead this effort within the local DC Burning Man community. We also expect that we’ll set up a platform for all to use to share their questions, thoughts, and concerns about the topics of Radical Self Expression, Radical Inclusion, and Civic Responsibility as they pertain to the DC Burning Man Community.

We will send out regular updates about community activities and resources, and share policies as they’re distributed by various burner organizations.

We want to be a community that has compassion and cares for each other, that thinks about the impact our behavior has on each other, and is truly accountable to each other.  One that is safe for all.  Want to be a part of how we create that reality? Excellent. We look forward to building it together.

Signed,

 

DC Regional Contacts (Aaron Parness, Charles Plank, Darrell Duane, Debbi Arseneaux, and Patty Simonton) and DC Community Leaders, including:

Mischief DC

IAMU

Plaisance

WhyteStone

88 DC

Meso Creso

Camp Contact

The Nut House

Glowhouse

November 19, 2015