Our guiding principles are what we believe and how we operate as an organization. They were developed over 18 months and reflect the input of over 400 UWD members, including affiliate leaders, online members, a national leadership committee, staff, and our board.
At UWD, We believe that maintaining safe spaces are key to preserving the magic that has helped thousands to find their voice, learn new skills and mobilize to change their world. Our commitment to safety is an embodiment of our guiding principles which were developed by our members.
We respond to any indication of harm and aim to be rigorous and thorough. We are led by womxn, queer people, and people of color and many of us are survivors ourselves, have been criminalized or both. So we are committed to doing the best we can and always learning and improving our practices.
We recognize that we are a part of a global community of freedom fighters who are striving to find new ways to dismantle centuries of violence, white supremacy, patriarchy, systemic racism and structural oppression of all kinds. We aim to prevent and address harm of all kinds in our spaces as well as teach each other how we can undo harmful socialized behaviors so as to not perpetuate harm.
Our policies and procedures have been developed with this goal in mind. Our staff handbook, code of conduct, trainings and wide range of procedures exist to remove the stigma of reporting harassment, abuse, physical threats or even questions about these topics. Staff and volunteers are encouraged to confidentially share with their supervisor or are offered a direct line to our Chief Operating Officer through an anonymous phone or email system. Any person in a United We Dream space is welcome to submit questions or alert us to a situation at 866-853-2728 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our spaces are special and create big new ideas that some in politics and in the country want to shut down. At major events, United We Dream strives to conduct threat assessments and provide security services which are conscious of race, class, gender identity and which are centered on concepts of restorative justice. We are working towards training all staff on identifying possible problems and on how to manage them.
At United We Dream, we know that our very existence is resistance and that proclaiming that you are undocumented, queer, a womxn or any number of other identities or opinions online put us at risk of cyber-bullying, doxing, mob vengance and other strategies designed to terrorize and silence. We stand against cyber-bullying of all kinds and our staff and many volunteers have received digital security training and ongoing support to ensure that threats are assessed.
We take an innovators approach to safety, and seek to always be learning and improving. United We Dream is proud to bring some of the top experts to our staff and volunteers to provide deep trainings on key topics each year, coaching, and conflict mediation. In addition to trainings and guidance provided internally, United We Dream has brought together some of the most dynamic and innovative experts in the nation – check it out:
Over the past years, United We Dream has developed a code of conduct for staff and volunteers in our spaces. This dynamic and evolving process has enabled our folks to self-determine how they want to be treated and our clear procedures outline how United We Dream will ensure that our spaces are safe.
We understand that our staff, members and volunteers have survived many traumas. We also understand that people who have survived and those who have perpetuated harms can seek to change. While United We Dream supports and respects the mental health needs of the individuals at all places along that spectrum.
Our health benefits and practices seek to support those who wish to pursue assistance with maintaining and improving their mental health. And we support the entire immigrant youth community in protecting their own mental health needs through our Undocuhealth initiative.
Putting the safety (in all forms including physical, emotional, sexual, economic, spiritual, etc.) of the individuals and communities involved first.
All parts of the process must be voluntary, informed, reversible, and conscious choices. Especially in sexual violence cases where a survivors sense of choice and control has been violated – it is important that consent and survivor agency are central to the entire process.
The person who caused harm addressing that harm, apologizing, and shifting behavior does not mean the survivor must forgive them.
Responding to harm should be driven by the needs of the survivor(s). There should be no victim blaming; victims/survivors are not to blame for violence; nothing they did or said is reason for harm / abuse.
We deconstruct assumptions and binary thinking to embrace nuance, intersectionality, context, and uniqueness. Moving past gendered language that holds assumptions about good guy / bad guy and survivor/perpetuator, but aware of historical patterns, stereotypes, and social expectations associated with identity. We take a holistic approach to conflict transformation; we see all of the people involved as whole – having experienced and perpetuated harm. People are not disposable; we believe people grow and change with support, not in isolation.
Restorative Practice as an ideology can be used in any means needed to build community such as to achieve justice, to facilitate reintegration, to gain understanding and to celebrate. Restorative Justice is the use of restorative practice in addressing harms caused, usually in the context of a personal or legal offense.
By being flexible, adaptive and creative, the process and response strategies can evolve to meet the needs that are presented in the moment. We must be able to adapt and respond as new information is presented in order to strengthen the process and community. We must be honest about our capacity and compassionate with ourselves as we attempt to build better systems.
We always hope for healing, but it is an ongoing process that cannot be bounded, the intention of the process is to give the survivor the tools, support, and agency to address the harm and create a strategy to move forward.
We work together to create a democratic community. The community must come together to share the weight of the work so that the brunt of the labor does not land on the survivor, organizational leadership, or on the most marginalized members of the community who are expected to perform care labor.
Our work is powered by the generous contributions of our members and supporters. Help us continue fighting for the rights and dignity of immigrants.