We are constantly growing and learning, and the values that guide us change as we do. These are our collective’s Guiding Principles–the values that support our work–and Core Commitments–the kinds of actions we aim to take. We strive to revisit and revise both as often as is needed:
- One In The Number
To quote Ella’s Song by Sweet Honey in the Rock, we believe that as individuals and an organization, we are one of many fighting for our freedom. We contribute to our liberation; We don’t own it. We stay open to criticism and feedback about our work, and welcome collaborations with other communities in struggle. The growth of our collective, like the growth of our movement, is ongoing, and we need all of us to get free.
- Who’s Here? Who’s Missing?
We recognize that no one collective can ever represent the voices of all Black, trans and gender-nonconforming people. We work to build a collective that reflects the range of identities of Black tgnc communities of Chicago. We strive to be honest about who is and isn’t in the room, whose voices are and aren’t at the table, and support the work of other collectives and communities that do what we cannot.
- No One Is Beyond Error; Everyone Has Room to Grow
We believe freedom is a practice more than a goal. As individuals and a collective, we revisit our principles regularly, because we know we get away from them. We are committed to transformative justice—processes for accountability that are about changing harmful behavior instead of punishing it—and work as a collective to hold ourselves and our community to a high level of responsibility for our actions.
- Moving Through A Lens Of Black Liberation
We believe Blackness is sacred, and central to the liberation of all oppressed people. We center Blackness in our work by centering the demands of Black liberation—police and prison abolition, reparations for slavery and imperialism, the mass redistribution of resources, and the fierce protection of our earth. We lift up all forms and intersections of Blackness, and equally resist all forms of anti-Blackness—colorism, classism, trans misogyny, and the erasure of the work of our ancestors.
- Fighting Patriarchy
We are a collective of genders and gender expressions from across the trans spectrum, and believe all our voices are needed to effectively end sexist and gender-based violence. We are committed to dismantling patriarchy and misogyny in all their forms, and welcome radical expressions of masculinity, femininity and everything in between as necessary for that dismantling.
- Abolition (Take It Down!)
We believe the systems that cause harm to Black, trans and gnc people must be destroyed, not reformed. We are committed to a world without police, prisons, walls or borders. We do not work with any form of law enforcement (i.e. local and state police, ICE, the military, etc.) and see this as a form of solidarity with all those resisting state violence—Black, Brown, poor, working, Muslim, women, disabled, immigrant, undocumented, and beyond!
- Relationship Building
Strong organizing is about strong relationships. Our friendships, partnerships and creative projects lay the foundation for resistance. We believe isolation is a tool of our oppression. We fight it by carving out spaces of celebration and healing for ourselves and our community, and prioritizing our collective well-being over a need to take constant action.
Liberation is a collective effort, and the ways we practice it are always evolving. Staying in conversation means creating brave spaces with each other, and uplifting radical vulnerability. We host bi-weekly meetings in which we check in as a collective, and regular teach-ins on needed skills. We organize with other groups fighting for their freedom, and do outreach to Black tgnc communities outside of our collective.
- Community Education
We are the experts in our own struggle. We all have things to teach and things to learn. We work to support DIT (Do It Together) workshops in which community members share skills and knowledge with each other, as well as provide trainings for other organizations on the issues facing Black tgnc communities.
- Safer, More Accessible Spaces
Part of making sure we have a range of voices at our table is striving to make our spaces accessible. We aim to uplift all Black trans and gnc voices, but especially those that are differently-abled. We hold our meetings in central locations for easy transportation, and host events at spaces across our city, in buildings that are ADA accessible. We offer free workshops, strive to use accessible language, and regularly host sober spaces.