Monday, July 7, 2014

Concrete Ways to Support Children and Parents @ Civil Liberties & Policy Conference 2014

This is the brainstormed group list that came out of the Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Supporting Kids & Caregivers in Our Movements” workshop. For a longer report back click here




Poronto w/ sparkly shoes



Problems/Questions:

-What roles can children have in the Social Justice/Reproductive Justice Movement?
-Moving societal structure to include families in activism
-Fun time related to Reproductive Justice/Social Justice with my kid
-Supporting fellow board members who have small kids - creating more family-friendly culture in our organization
-How can adults without children be better allies to parenting activists?
-Fun stuff + responsible child care for toddlers
-More space for kids in workshops/less isolation
-Making free, public daycare for all a real option
-Ideas about supporting parents with kids who have specific/special care needs (i.e. special training/knowledge to care for kid)
-How can I best support caregiving and children?
-Mommy friends in other states need childcare help.
-Comfortableness, cost, positive growth skills
-I want visibility and support for trans* families
-Supporting queer & trans m/others/parents
-Going from childcare provider to parent and overcoming undeserving feeling.
-It’s hard to tell people how to help!


TIPS

* Model Inclusiveness - Welcome all! Don’t just say it: show it.
*Anticipate childcare needs - Every Time. Every event needs to plan for childcare; and to consider children and parents participation needs. Plan for childcare from the start.
*Consider Children and caregivers - notice who is in the room. Bring up the need for childcare before it becomes a problem that is brought up by those who are excluded.
*Showing up. Think about parents and children and make an effort. Ask caregivers and children what you can do to support them. Build intergenerational community.
* Supporting all parents, not just parents in Reproductive Justice movement
*Maintaining a living wage for childcare workers
*Time-gift exchange. Pay what you can - time pool. Trade childcare for other things.
*Child-care fund $ (similar to abortion fund)
* Offer group training on how to care for a specific child with a special need within your community
* Respect autonomy of kids
*Don't assume they won't get the issues
*Ask! Checking in with children and parents about pronouns, etc.
* Support parents to cut/check stereotypes’ perpetuated in school/daycare etc.
*Support to have conversations around gender
* Play Dates
* Free Childcare
* Zine making
* Art Projects
* Dinner Club - getting to know people better and becoming closer, gaining more support and building community that wouldn't have happened without that time together.
* Intentional Workshops - programming for children in the themes of the larger gathering, with some youth led activities, not created by parents. Kids love this and parents appreciate their children learning a message that’s not just coming from them.
*Adults go in and observe the kids spaces
*Acknowledging that children's noises are ok and part of growing our movement
* Bringing toys to an event
* Engaging and making eye contact with children
* Indy Kids - a resource

Reproductive Justice is for everyone: Civil Liberties & Policy Conference 2014


The weekend of April 11-13 was a big weekend. I went to a conference that I had never been before to co-facilitate a “Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind: Supporting Kids & Caregivers in Our Movements” workshop along with Marianne Bullock and Maegan la Mamita Mala Ortiz. It was the first time a conference had paid to fly me out and put me in a hotel, which is wonderful, I wouldn’t have been able to go without that; and also a bit stressful as you are preparing to leave into the unknown and wonder if you are worth it, if you have anything to say. But I reminded myself: Yes I am worth it! And I have something to say!

The Civil Liberties and Public Policy Conference took place at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and the theme was “From Abortion Rights to Social Justice: Building the Movement for Reproductive Freedom.” Everywhere I went the conversations were deep, intersectional, and comprehensive of the ideas of reproductive justice and the many ways that oppression impacts our bodies and our choices. Workshops and panels encompassed many different ways people are oppressed and how we can support and join with each other for everyone’s liberation.

When it came time for our workshop late on Saturday, I had already been fired up, hearing such context, meaning, and brilliant articulation on why we are here—from the stories of different black and queer organizers in the South (“Strategic Action Session: Cross-Movement Organizing in the South”) on immigration rights to organizing farmers, and against fracking (everything impacts reproductive freedom after all!) to a panel of three different Latina trans women speaking out on Transfeminism. Katherine Cross’s refrain: No Uterus Required, Just Patriarchy! was powerful and she shared the many ways we need to center and support our trans sisters in their reproductive justice; trans rights are reproductive rights.

Mala w/ Poronto on stage in the opening plenary. Mala spoke about using the internet to create space for those who are erased or ignored  in real life. Meanwhile Poronto is a very visible reminder & participant! - photo by @EchoingIda

That morning the opening plenary had moved me close to tear multiple times upon hearing moving stories from prison; from those who had been sterilized; and Mala's poem and shout out to mothers fighting sexism and racism online and in the streets, fighting for their lives and to not have their work erased and taken credit for by others, to remain visible, and to survive. I even was blessed to see one of the founders of the term “reproductive justice” in person, Loretta Ross. I was now feeling ready to get into the nitty-gritty of our workshop; to delve into practical discussion on ways to support families in our movements.


"Even if they had free abortions & a Cadillac to drive me to the clinic, I'd still be poor, oppressed, & sterile" - Loretta Ross #CLPP2014

The classroom was already arranged in a nice circle and it was pleasant with a window cracked open and sunshine streaming in. I started the workshop with liberation stretches that I had learned from RegeneraciĆ³n and shared how they often played many games that were good for community building. I flew an airplane that Lucy (age 13) had made me with my name written on it. Everyone was impressed how straight it flew. I placed the toys in the middle of the room for a visual telling of how others could do at their meeting, now it was easy for me to do this as I had assembled a group of toys I could take to any meetings. Then Marianne, Mamita La Mala, and I shared our experiences. I shared how sometimes nothing changes, or one person makes change, and if they leave or are not there, nothing changes. Mala shared how she pushed for childcare and how important it is to have childcare in the early planning, not as an after thought or oversight. Marianne shared how she had struggled just a few days ago with lack of childcare as she prepared with her amazing work in The Prison Birth Project (a group she co-founded and was recently part of passing anti-shackling legislature).

I shared with the room the lack of progress that I witnessed over time, childcare failures in large conferences like the Social Forum in Detroit a few years back; new groups of parents, each year, being struck with shock by the difficulties of their transition into parenthood the same way that parents had been for decades before them. The repetition of social justice organizational childcare failures, insufficient preparation, and trying to fix things after they failed. The repetition of lack of support and respect for hands on mothering. Why can’t we make more progress in this? And also the way that I have witnessed good childcare, breakthrough moments, and inspirational programming through the work of one person, or just a few people, that things get better. And then when they leave, everything is back to as bad as it was before, and without childcare, support, or programming for children.

Mamita La Mala shared how she pushed to make change, and to take her daughter with her to be present in these spaces. That even this conference was not that child-friendly or good with childcare in the past and how she had pushed for it to be better. That she is usually that one, speaking up. Marianne spoke of the need for activities and spaces that both her and her daughter could enjoy together, as well as childcare difficulties, and that she felt struggling and in need of more answers with this question too. That does it only have to be mothers, asking for childcare (or safe and positive experiences in childcare), after none is provided? Mamita Mala added that it needs to be everyone, not only parents, to plan and realize that childcare must come first and organize as a priority from the beginning, if you seek to not exclude parents and marginalized groups within your organizing.


@NicoleClarkLMSW live tweeted quotes from Mala from our workshop:
"If you want more moms in conference spaces, we should be able to take that space and be supported with our children"
"If social justice matters to you & you want to embody it for your kids, you want to have them in the room with you" - @mamitamala #CLPP2014

Later as we broke down into small groups, to discuss some of the individual questions that had come up. What personally struck me and lingered the longest was one question I had not understood – asking everyone to phrase their question or problem on an index card in 8 words or less. A woman who had worked as a nanny and now was a mother too, talked about how does she overcome undeserving feelings. That she should do all the work, that she can, and not complain, or need more. This is what others insist to her, her employers, society, and her ex. This struck me hard, as in my own way, I also struggle with undeserving feelings. I thought she needed to reach out to find others to talk with, for support.

In our discussion group, with also the assertions of a younger newer mom who knows how much time and energy it takes to care give and how hard then for this to be something more ON YOU, to reach out for, instead of support OFFERED by others, we got to the root of the issue, that when our needs are not provided for; we can feel undeserving that they should be. It takes, at times, intense and fiery radicals or radical energy to fight back. When the norm is to treat us as undeserving, it is hard to feel deserving. Not offering childcare support, not having access, not only not allows us to participate but also sends a message we do not deserve to participate.

"When the norm is to treat us as undeserving, it is hard to feel deserving. Not offering childcare support, not having access, not only not allows us to participate but also sends a message we do not deserve to participate."

Other groups discussed different issues. (We had broke down into four groups to discuss our personal questions written on an index card.) These were:


Poronto w/ sparkly shoes



Problems/Questions:

-What roles can children have in the Social Justice/Reproductive Justice Movement?
-Moving societal structure to include families in activism
-Fun time related to Reproductive Justice/Social Justice with my kid
-Supporting fellow board members who have small kids - creating more family-friendly culture in our organization
-How can adults without children be better allies to parenting activists?
-Fun stuff + responsible child care for toddlers
-More space for kids in workshops/less isolation
-Making free, public daycare for all a real option
-Ideas about supporting parents with kids who have specific/special care needs (i.e. special training/knowledge to care for kid)
-How can I best support caregiving and children?
-Mommy friends in other states need childcare help.
-Comfortableness, cost, positive growth skills
-I want visibility and support for trans* families
-Supporting queer & trans m/others/parents
-Going from childcare provider to parent and overcoming undeserving feeling.
-It’s hard to tell people how to help!



After the small groups came up with tips they shared them with the room. This is the list, as a group, we came up with for tips for everyone to support families in social justice movements. (I’ve left them grouped in their small groups.) :

really cool swing outside

TIPS

* Model Inclusiveness - Welcome all! Don’t just say it: show it.
*Anticipate childcare needs - Every Time. Every event needs to plan for childcare; and to consider children and parents participation needs. Plan for childcare from the start.

*Consider Children and caregivers - notice who is in the room. Bring up the need for childcare before it becomes a problem that is brought up by those who are excluded.
*Showing up. Think about parents and children and make an effort. Ask caregivers and children what you can do to support them. Build intergenerational community.

* Supporting all parents, not just parents in Reproductive Justice movement
*Maintaining a living wage for childcare workers
*Time-gift exchange. Pay what you can - time pool. Trade childcare for other things.
*Child-care fund $ (similar to abortion fund)
* Offer group training on how to care for a specific child with a special need within your community

* Respect autonomy of kids
*Don't assume they won't get the issues
*Ask! Checking in with children and parents about pronouns, etc.
* Support parents to cut/check stereotypes’ perpetuated in school/daycare etc.
*Support to have conversations around gender

* Play Dates
* Free Childcare
* Zine making
* Art Projects
* Dinner Club - getting to know people better and becoming closer, gaining more support and building community that wouldn't have happened without that time together.
* Intentional Workshops - programming for children in the themes of the larger gathering, with some youth led activities, not created by parents. Kids love this and parents appreciate their children learning a message that’s not just coming from them.
*Adults go in and observe the kids spaces
*Acknowledging that children's noises are ok and part of growing our movement
* Bringing toys to an event
* Engaging and making eye contact with children
* Indy Kids - a resource

Balance. I would have never seen this swing w/out Poronto

We saw familiar faces in each other, and from folks from previous workshops. We cannot let go of each other, or of this work, and our work continues over the course of our life and lives. We need to build together to support everyone’s rights and to continue our survival and intergenerational connection. Supporting parents and children is part of showing each other how to do that.

Each of us needs to be supported. As media makers, journalists, students, mothers, writers, activists, midwifes, doulas, and change makers. As human beings with full and varied lives, with what brings us joy, what makes us laugh, and where we can replenish ourselves and rest. What wonderful things we all can do, for ourselves, for each other, when we come together like this.

When we respect all people, including caregivers and children, for the work they do, what they bring, and what they need, we change the world, we grow larger than isolated short blips but over time, our strength is build over time, with the flow of time, to become part of larger movements, where like the swell of a wave, our collective strength; and collective liberation; is to be found.


THANK YOU to the Civil Liberty and Public Policy conference for their organizing work to provide an assessable and supportive conference with good childcare, which I felt I could witness shortly by the abundance of childcare providers, smiles, and the way that Poronto did not want to leave childcare at first when we went to pick her up.

P.S. this is the long version! If you want to share the short version of tips from our workshop click here


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Notes from the "Radical Community Care" workshop at the AMC 2014

The Radical Community Care workshop was widely attended, the large basement room was packed with folks sitting in all the chairs and on the floor, and it felt good. It felt good to come together with my co-presenters, like a creative act. It felt good to look around the room and see each of the people who had come to this workshop. It felt good to have this discussion be hosted in the "Kids, Caregivers, and Community" Practice Space. (We don't want to be isolated or marginalized. Children, parents, and childcare volunteers need community support. Our goal this year, was to emphasize the necessity of more community support for childcare, as well as to be more inclusive of the intersections of social justice issues. And our desire for this workshop was to facilitate a discussion that would include childcare, as well as go beyond it, to other community care concerns. We wanted to expand our collective access by working together with others, especially disability justice folks.) And finally, it felt good to see the smiles in the eyes of my presenters as we left the space. Notes were hard to take in this discussion based workshop so this is kind of a rough, ethereal report back of collective notes as reassembled in my back garden at home.

Bulletin board w/ collective notes

My backyard

At first we went around the room and talked a short bit about ourselves


Smitty was good at facilitating a braver space as we had also all discussed earlier what kind of space we would like to work together in, to be respectful to each other, as we came together through our differences which was admittedly difficult and ambitious of us. One thing we discussed that we would address any issue or problem that came up in our space, no matter how long it took, and not push it aside in order to get through our agenda. We did take a lot of time talking about that and having an introduction go round, although that doesn't always work at the AMC, we felt it was needed for this workshop. It did feel good listening to each person at the workshop as they had a moment to share themselves.

Then we each said a little thing about ourselves before plunging into community discussion about issues we faced w/ possible solutions/take aways that could help with these problems.

I gave out a hand out with tips on how to support parents and children on one side and an outline of the kidz city model on the other.

Anna Sani energized the room with her recent collective successes--she had just come from a campaign that included youth to legalize medical marijuana in New York state the day before - that in her words: "We won BECAUSE we were a collection of parents, caregivers, and sick folks - not DESPITE the fact we were a collection of parents, caregivers, and sick folks." That was some good energy to share, about winning; that we don't always get to share. Although it is important to talk about it all--the good, the bad, and the hard to define. Talk about it! was actually the first tip that came up.

the roses say we are all at different places and thats ok


Radical Community Care: Let's Talk About It!


My cat helps me transcribe the list of problems


LIST OF SOME PROBLEMS:

* How to Access Differently-Abled Communities as a previously able bodied person
* Racism in Disabled Communities
* Survivors (Acknowledgement of Trauma)
* Giving of care and emotional work being gender based

And here are some more problems I remember being brought up but weren't written down:
*Feeling upset about things you can't really describe
*Someone suggesting you do behind the scenes childcare support but not letting you do childcare because you are trans
*Learning @ more about your identity in the African diaspora but being surrounded by white people
*Wanting to talk about experiences without deducing problems and answers

And here are the Lists of Possible Solutions/Tips:

FIND FOLKS! 

- Search for support groups - farc.org (???can anyone clarify?), peersnet.org, bonitahouse.org
- community organizing
- online forums
- look outside the circles of folks where you would usually go to - take a chance and reach out (if you can)
- NGOs in field
- Identify Spaces
- P.O.C. create their own spaces
- Ask an Introvert
- Free Art School
- Moratorium on Whiteness/ Set boundaries and intentions
- Take a break
- Have a group of friends you can complain about the white folks you can not avoid/ and socialize with outside of social justice work
- Public library
- College Campuses
- Radical Collectives
- Record Shops (usually rad people)
- Keep Talking and Bringing it up (when it feels comfortable)

Online Resources!

- Care Collectives, just email your friends + say you want to start one - say what you need
- Support Groups
- ASCA (Adult Survivors of Child Abuse)
- Building/Creating Healing Circles
- Find out associated # hashtags and find groups
- Creating and Centering POC & Indigenous Spaces
- Predator Alert Tool (for twitter, okcupid, fetlife, facebook, etc.)
- Farc.org
- Peersnet.org
-Talk about it!
- NGO's and Government Services
- Twitter
- Tumblr
- Tarte (????), it's a free online word processor 


P.O.C & Indigenous Folks Creating Own Space + Being Centered!

- Pinned post on FB group w/ community agreements
- Remember its not your fault
- Make Media - posters, websites, videos, etc.
- Find others who spoke out against & organize own space
- Political education in POC/Indy communities, cultural education
- Free Art School
- We don't need other folks to get things done for us; we are who we have been waiting for
- Bring in as many folks as possible during dialogue
- If you are white, learn how to be/act/behave as an ally in POC centered spaces
- If you are just supporting, just listen, don't try to solve

Become the Expert on Yourself!

- Look for ways to learn about you
- WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan)
- Reach Out
- Talk about it all the time with anyone who will listen
- Make art
- Art making
- I have found meditation to be useful, to get to know my mind, walk with it, + have time to converse with myself. I use this to deal with anxiety and depression.
- make weekly dates with 1-2 friends where the idea is sharing mutual support and articulating how things are going over a shared meal
- Break down your own and societies barriers little by little
- If you are also a practitioner/caregiver/provider - be the broken record to your clients/the people you take care of/your colleagues that "people are the experts of them"


Finding the Question!

- Create space for not knowing the answer
- Be OK with not having the answer for another person
- Art





Feel free to add to these notes

Please excuse my mistakes. I am not the best blogger. Please feel free to leave notes for things I missed, things to correct or elaborate on, and other ideas you would like to include; and if possible at a later date perhaps I could do a second revision to clean up and add in the other suggestions. Thank you ahead of time for being gentle with me and each other in the comments, corrections, and additions.










Monday, June 23, 2014

AWESOME STUFF: Sci-Fi Tween Reader

This list was started/generated at the Sci-Fi Exploration workshop @ AMC 2014. Please share this with other rad tweens and ask them for their suggestions. Leave comments to add more awesome stuff.


Animorphs
Dr. Who
Pyro from Team Fortress 2
The Higher Power of Lucky
The Golden Compass
Homestruck
Coraline
Torchwood
Galaxy Express 999
Adventure Time
The Runaways
Lio
Ava's Demon
Deadpool
Bravest Warriors

What we want (that we don't have yet):
Sci-fi + Mythology
Super communities (not just people/individuals)


Sci-Fi Exploration (workshop for tweens ) / OR: How I learned that jumping is a super power

Wow! I can't believe its been a year since my last blog post, which was from the Allied Media Conference (AMC) 2013. But this post ties right in where we left off, from one of the potentially glorious tips: Science fiction geeks! How about creating a sci-fi workshop for tweens/young teens with accessible language? Plans started in the airport flying home to Baltimore, when I happened to meet Emil Rudicell from Dinah Press. Emil committed to making it happen this year:


                                                               

SCI-FI EXPLORATION: "Do you want to change the ending? Do you make your own worlds, superpowers, and fantastical futures and pasts? Want to? This workshop is for young folks – around 9-14 years old – to share and create sci-fi and fantasy stories. We will make zines, comics, or other story guides, and start to develop a young adult reader."

Presenters:


A workshop especially for tweens 

As a bottomliner of the Kids, Caregivers, and Community Practice Space I introduced the workshop by saying that this was the one specific workshop for tweens in the kids practice space; and that there was a group of friends who had grown from children into young teens at the AMC, who were into sci-fi, that inspired this workshop to happen but they were not in attendance this year. We designed this workshop to create a space for tweens to meet each other, because we know sometimes this age group gets tired of being with younger children and older teens/adults, as well as going to radical activities w/ their parents. There is not a lot of "tweens" at the AMC & it would be good to have a space to meet each other. 


Emil started by asking us about where we come from and the things we like. To exaggerate these qualities into super powers. We discussed science fiction and ways it was like our own life; and how we could change time-lines and write our own stories.

It was Panda's first year at the AMC and they were 8. They had road-tripped for over 24 hours from Utah and this was their first workshop. It was a nice calm space after such a long trip. Argus was 13 & knew a lot about shape-shifting and astral projection because of the healers in their family. They were also a comic illustrator. (P.S. I'm using our time travel code names and gender neutral pronouns but I don't remember what pronouns the kids used)




    Emil led us in a lot of active imagining

We jumped over Mount Everest. I'm not that good of a jumper so I was scared. I imagined Mount Everest as very small since I know I can't jump that far. Argus said: "you know jumping is a kind of super power. rocks can't jump." We would turn around two times and then turn into a mythical creature. We also turned into animals. We would walk around the room and move in our new forms. I totally knew that Panda was Panda before they ever told us that! Emil told us that we could time travel into the past or future by turning around two times and then imagining that we were there. Time travel is very noisy. We all grabbed markers so we could communicate with each other and tell each other what we saw. It was really cool.




Then we made a mini zine 

We read them with each other. I was really impressed that Panda could read my messy handwriting but they didn't choose to share their zine with the group. Thats OK - you don't have to! This is Emil's zine below.



After that we brainstormed titles for the Awesome stuff list 



AWESOME STUFF: Sci-Fi Tween Reader:

(click on link above for list)

I brainstormed Coraline, although I couldn't remember the name of the movie at first. Argus and Panda kept going back and forth with ideas, saying "Oh Yea!" and "I love that too!" I was unfamiliar with most of the things they said. They really loved Dr. Who (I do too) and went through a whole bunch of Dr. Who References. I made a Star Trek reference but they didn't know it, never watched Star Trek. Emil translated for us through our generational differences. 

I was really glad I got to help with this workshop, it was a lot of fun 

We made new friends; another generation of tweens may meet up again next year. I talked with Panda the next day, and they said they had thought the AMC might not have any workshops for them, but that wasn't the case, they liked it! And asked if I had seen Argus that day. I hadn't. But I said, I bet if you don't see them later you might bump into them again a few years. And we both smiled. Its a good idea to have some workshops specifically for tweens and this workshop felt like a success even though only two people came, that was kind of great because they both had big imaginations which helped fill the room. 

thank you Emil!



Saturday, July 13, 2013

✰The Positive, the Problematic & the Potentially Glorious ✰

Suggestions Brainstormed at the “Don’t Leave Your Friends Behind” workshop at Allied Media Conference (AMC) 2013 


The Allied Media Conference (AMC) is a very special conference, dear to our hearts and one of the best ones for childcare, youth programming, and nurturing an intergenerational movement.  It builds on feedback from each year, with a we begin by listening credo, and continually works to build collective access. We want to recognize that a lot of planning and effort happens to intentionally support caregivers and children and we thank everyone involved. Please accept the more critical feedback within this list with love and as part of the ongoing conversations to help move forward for next year.


lacing cards, a chew proof baby book, & baby blocks


The Positive
  • Parents and caregivers feel excited to bring children to the AMC. One mom said that the combo of childcare + Kids’ Track makes the AMC one of the few places she wants to bring her small child.
  • Youth are excited about coming to the AMC. They get a lot out of the experience such as workshops that are engaging for youth (such as scratch, flash animation, green screen*) and build media skills they can use outside of the conference. Children can also meet others with similar kinds of parents and not feel isolated by being the only kid from a political family.
  • Non-parents enjoy seeing children around them. Having childcare be in the main space and seeing children around them feels good.
  • One mom, who was at the AMC with her two young children for the first time, said that the combo of childcare + Kids’ Track makes her very hopeful.
  • Relationships are being built and nurtured so we can also support each other in more organic ways all around, and outside of, the conference.  
  • Two of the youth are already making plans to come to next year’s AMC!

    * Although we later found out that the greenscreen workshop either didn’t happen or was moved to an undisclosed location. The tweens, as well as several adults, went to the indicated room which was empty & waited & waited & waited & finally gave up.






The Problematic
  • Youth not prioritized in “all ages” workshops. Youth arriving late to “How to Create Magical Card Decks”  felt uncomfortable and left because the workshop was crowded and full of adults. Youth can feel intimidated if a the “Kids Transform the World Practice Space” is mostly attended by adults and want to leave the room when they come in to see this is the case.
  • Unsafe equipment/supplies (such as razor blades at small child level) in some of the spaces that are listed as “Appropriate and engaging for all ages” workshops
  • Railings on 2nd floor are extremely dangerous for small children, who can easily fall through. Putting up decorative cloth on the railing only makes it more appealing and thus more of a hazard.
  • Lack of clear structure for volunteers to know what is happening and what is expected of them: A childcare volunteer said that they were given no information about kids’ names, caregivers, allergies, etc., when they came in to volunteer. It felt extremely disconnected, confusing, and upsetting to not know what one was supposed to be doing and for there to be little communication during shift changes (people just coming and going without saying anything other then goodbye) or when taking children outside.
  • No quiet, dark (or able to be darkened) room for children to nap. Also, a shortage of childcare providers means that there’s no one to watch napping kids.






The Potentially Glorious
  • Put a cap on how many adults (without children) can be in a workshop that is geared for youth.
  • Quality control to make “Appropriate and engaging for all ages” workshops both engaging AND safe. Have a check-off list for presenters to go through to make sure their space is safe.
  • Have childcare (and the Kids Track) on the 1st floor!!!
  • Have an additional nearby quiet/napping room with extra volunteers
  • Provide healthy food/snacks with regard to food allergies and restrictions
  • Childcare organizers advocate for healthy food
  • Put trigger warnings on workshop descriptions instead of labeling sessions as “not appropriate for kids.” Allow caregivers (and other adults) to choose whether to attend based on content, not a sometimes-arbitrary rating system. *
  • Give trigger warnings before the start of the workshop. (This warns people who may have forgotten/not read the trigger warning in the description.)
  • Have name tags for all kids that include caregivers’ names and allergy info. Incorporate nametag making as an art activity at the beginning of each day so that the kids feel ownership of their name tag (and are less likely to take them off).
  • Childcare volunteers should do a head-count before taking kids outside & then another before returning to the childcare space.
  • Have a short (1-2 page) orientation handout for all childcare volunteers that includes how long they’re expected to stay and WHAT is expected of them. Information needs to be shared with ALL childcare volunteers.
  • More paid (2-3) childcare staff. More childcare and Kids Transform the World Track volunteers. Also, more intersections that conference attendees can get involved in supporting caregivers and children at different comfort/commitment levels as well as more learning opportunities on how to do so.
  • Science fiction geeks! How about creating a sci-fi workshop for tweens/young teens with accessible language? Also consider other themes, like how sex-positive subject matter could also be created into a class for tweens which need this kind of information.
  • Have AMC youth scholarships to cover travel expenses so that more children can attend the conference with their caregivers. Also all different groups and collectives could consider organizing (based around geography or issues, for example) collective support/scholarships for caregivers and children in their midst.
  • Network with the Disability Justice folks to collaborate on broader platforms of access.

    * Info about difficulties in planning rating system: when organizers plan the conference they don’t know what room workshops will be in and they also edit the descriptions a lot.





Utopian
  • What if EVERYONE doing a workshop committed to :
    • keeping sharp and/or dangerous objects out of reach
    • making an announcement at the start that kid noises are welcome
    • encouraging people (of all ages) to ask for definitions/clarifications if they don’t understand terms that are used
    • giving trigger warnings

  • AMC organizers:
    • create a small working group which includes caregivers and kids on how to make the AMC more kid-friendly.
    • Create a collective vision/official statement of how the AMC wants to include children and caregivers.
    • Create a 5-year plan to work towards meeting these goals. Rushing too fast to create inclusion without necessarily understanding how to do so can create additional problems and push us past our capacities. We need to work on these issues in an extended committed fashion.



      We brought toys that would be safe for babies and all- ages because last time we didn't have anything fun for 
      all the small children in our heavily talk-based workshop