14 Jul
2017

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New Volunteer and Facilitator Training

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on July 14, 2017   comments 0

Grease Rag is a collective group of FTWs, and we organize and make decisions in our Google Group. Any FTW with some connection to Grease Rag is able to join, but we got feedback that it can be intimidating to "step up" if you're new.

In response to that, Open Shop facilitators and all around awesome folks Casey W and Anne S put together a training for new members and facilitators! They did a tremendous job, and their effort was matched by the enthusiasm of Shruthi, Emily D, Cyndi, Elizabeth, Joy, Ali, and Lucy.  It is our intention to hold at least two of these "trainings" a year.

Training in new volunteers and facilitators

At the beginning of the evening, we went around and shared our names, pronouns, and asked people, "What kind of things have you done with Grease Rag?"

We discovered that we all have different experiences with Grease Rag. As a social rider, volunteering at events, space facilitators, skill share leaders, trip leader, ride leader, bike camping, bike mechanics. And that is the very BEST thing about Grease Rag! Our perspectives and differences.

Our goals for the evening were to get to know each other, give people some tools and confidence to lead events, facilitate open shops, and to become designated safety folks.

We asked people to consider the following...

Why are you interested in facilitating/volunteering with GR?
What do you want to contribute to GR?
What do you want to take away from this training?
How can we help each other?
How do you want to grow?

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29 Jun
2017

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BIPOC Bike Camping Trip

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on June 29, 2017   comments 2

Nothing is more fun than heart like taking a casual roll out of the city together with some of my most favorite people. This trip was for BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color and people with an "it's complicated relationship to their race") FTW (femme/trans/women) only. Two people were bike camping for the first time! It was magic.

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Everyone took a part in organizing this trip! Ali booked the space and got us hooked up with a route, firewood, and water. We got some SAG (support and gear vehicle) support from our partners. Dinner Crew rocked those burritos and quesadillas! Everyone brought games and love and hilarious stories about our "worst camping experience ever."

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The ride was great, the spot was beautiful. Just when I though my heart could not be anymore full, the sky misted us with a light rain and a double rainbow shined over us. We were camping over Pride Weekend, and all agreed we felt seen by colorful sky.

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27 Jun
2017

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Call of WTF artists

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on June 27, 2017   comments 0

Grease Rag is refreshing our flyers and online materials.

Are you a WTF (woman/trans/femme) artist? Do you identify with Grease Rag's inclusive and friendly mission?

We want you!

We want to give WTF artists an opportunity to participate in our new designs! This might show up on a button, or a flyer, or something else...

If you're interested, send a note to greaseragmpls@gmail.com by June 30th - please include the following:

  • Short statement or sentence about WHO you are
  • Short statement or sentence about WHY you want to design for GR
  • Include an EXISTING sample of your work

Because we want to support our community of talented BIPOC+ QT WTF artists, this opportunity is ONLY open to women/transgender/femme artists and we will PAY YOU for your labor!

Thank you to all of the WTF artists who have contributed their talent and labor over the years. We would CERTAINLY consider using your work again if you want to throw your hat in the ring. Gratitude and respect!

23 Jun
2017

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My Hopes and Wishes for Your Pride

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on June 23, 2017   comments 0

Update: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone who participated in giving respect to QT BIPOC lives by disrupting the Pride parade. There is a photo in that link of the protest being led by children, BIPOC folks, and people in wheelchairs, in case you forgot who is most marginalized by law enforcement and events like Pride.

These were the demands made by protesters:

  • Honors the legacy and life of trans women of color and recognize Pride as the byproduct of their resistance of police brutality and repression
  • Combats State violence with the total elimination of police and law enforcement
  • Is accountable for their perpetuation of white supremacy and homonormativity and that they eradicate their normalization of these violent systems
  • Provide an exclusive healing space at future events for indigenous and people of color to process, rest, and restorative justice
  • Divests from all corporations as they promote the marginalization, exploitation, and criminalization of marginalized communities
  • Funds and organizes a Town Hall alongside members from marginalized communities including but not limited to Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar, Native Lives Matter, and Justice4MarcusGolden
  • Provide racial reparations via redistribution of resources and monetary compensation to grassroots organizations of the coalition’s choice.

____________________________
I feel numb. Philando Castile's murderer was acquitted. Charleena Lyles, a 30-year-old pregnant woman, was shot dead by police after phoning them for help. Nabra Hassanen, a 17-year-old on the way to her mosque, was beaten to death. 13 trans people have been murdered so far this year, and they were all women of color. Our community is running itself ragged organizing, and healing, and grieving these tragedies.

My grieving looks like anger, sadness, frustration, and a desperate need to cling to the BIPOC WTF in my life, and to celebrate the queer BIPOC joy that I'm lucky enough to have access to. Because I feel so numb.

I really need to process some of these feelings with you, my Friends.

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01 Jun
2017

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Grease Rag Facilitator/Organizer Safety Training

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on June 1, 2017   comments 2

Working together for safer spaces

Grease Rag Facilitators (the people who greet you at open shop, lead rides, and are familiar with our safer spaces policies) and Organizers (the people who are doing Facebook moderation, admin, fundraising and collectively make decisions) had a meeting to discuss safety and security.

Grease Rag cannot guarantee complete safety. We can only work together to provide safer spaces for each other, so we can all feel free to live our truths.

This meeting was called because we need to be ready to defend our safe spaces. Over the years, there have been a few safety concerns, and the list of people (abusers) banned from our spaces keeps growing. A recent incident motivated Julia to organize this meeting and share her de-escalation skills with us. Julia works with kids with aggressive behaviors and has many de-escalation skills that transfer to Grease Rag’s safer spaces.

This is just a general guide, because each situation is unique, each person is different, and we all have our own style of confrontation. Listed below are some of the specific skills that we talked about and practiced at our meeting.

Safety training

General Considerations

  • Your safety and the safety of the participants comes first!
  • Do not approach the acting out person alone. Take the other facilitator with you.
  • Move the conversation with the acting out person away from the participants or space.
  • Do NOT approach the person too closely or put hands on them, in any way, ever.
  • Use your best judgement about when to call the police or not. Keep in mind that there are can be huge - sometimes FATAL - ramifications for calling the police to intervene. *More in the section below
  • Try to be aware of what triggers your flight, fight, freeze. Is it safe for you to be confronting someone right now, in this way?
  • Don’t try to confront someone if you have been drinking.
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