FOCUS Community Agreement

Community agreements are essential for fostering civil discussions and creating a safe and respectful environment at FOCUS St. Louis program seminars and policy forums.

To that end, below are the expectations that we have for everyone attending our programming:

  1. Respectful Communication: We commit to communicating with respect and courtesy, valuing the diversity of opinions and experiences within the community.
  2. Active Listening: We will listen attentively to others without interrupting, allowing everyone to express their thoughts and ideas fully and seek to understand different perspectives before formulating our responses, fostering a deeper and more inclusive exchange of ideas.
  3. Constructive Criticism: We will offer feedback and engage in discussions in a constructive and helpful manner, focusing on ideas rather than attacking individuals.
  4. Confidentiality: We will maintain confidentiality and respect the privacy of others, refraining from sharing personal information or discussions outside the seminar setting without explicit consent.
  5. Open-mindedness: We will approach discussions with an open mind, being willing to challenge our own perspectives and consider different viewpoints.
  6. One Speaker at a Time: We will speak one at a time, ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to be heard and reducing interruptions or crosstalk.
  7. Use “I” Statements: We will use “I” statements to express our opinions and experiences, recognizing that they are personal and may not apply to others.
  8. Step Up, Step Back: We will encourage equal participation by being mindful of our speaking time and actively inviting others to contribute who may be quieter or less likely to speak up.
  9. No Hate Speech or Discrimination: We will not engage in or tolerate hate speech, discrimination, or any form of harassment based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or any other protected characteristic/demographic.
  10. Learn from Each Other: We recognize that everyone in the community brings valuable knowledge and experiences. We will strive to learn from one another and appreciate the collective wisdom present in the room.
  11. Take Responsibility for Impact: We will be aware of the potential impact of our words and actions and take responsibility for their effect on others. If someone points out that we have caused harm, we will be open to learning, apologizing, and making amends.
  12. Embrace Discomfort: We understand that discussing complex civic issues can be challenging and may lead to discomfort. We will embrace this discomfort as an opportunity for growth and learning.