What is Awareness?
“We understand awareness as a conciousness of your own position, while being critical of power. Our position in society is co-determined by power structures. The participants in the social fabric are affected by this. People with a social privilege often(!) have it easier, others who experience discrimination more often in many cases(!) have more difficulties. The different kinds of positioning have to be made visible for an event to be most pleasant for everyone involved. Awareness tries to both raise and sharpen the conciousness for inequalities and to deal with them productively. Thus, awareness-work aims to build social spaces (as) free (as possible) from discrimination – together with everyone involved.“
Why awareness at the climate camp?
We are fighting against the humanmade climate change and for the good life for everyone! For us this also means that we as well have to care about interpersonal relationships, or, so to say, the social climate.
Suppression, marginalisation and discrimination happen everywhere. A lot of people will not participate in the camp at all for various reasons, for example because the location – despite all efforts- isn’t well accessible for people with physical and/or psychological handicaps, because the camp is strongly characterized by whiteness, cis-gender and heteronormativity, because hierarchies of knowledge do exist and also because outer and linguistic scene codes can be intimidating.
It may also occur that people leave workshops, because the language used or a dominant behavior in communication makes it impossible for them to participate, or because everyday racism, sexism etc. aren’t reflected upon well enough.
Therefore let’s try to already now establish a social climate on the camp in which everyone can feel as comfortable as possible because (they)….
… can make any kind of discriminatory behaviour a topic of discussion…
… can freely experiment with their identities…
… feel safe to just ask, if they didn’t understand something…
… technical terms and scene codes are being explained to include everyone in the conversations…
… pay attention in discussions: who talks a lot, who doesn’t, and why…
… pay attention to whether everyone, big and small, is recognized in their needs….
… start to reflect on their privileges and try and make social interaction more sensitized…
We would like people who are being somehow notified of their own privileges or criticized for possible discriminatory behavior to be openminded about it all. But we would also like to see a culture of “error“-friendliness, since none of us are free from discriminatory behavior.
In the course of this, we hold appreciative interactions, mutual consideration and shared responsibility to be indispensable for a community in which people do not feel excluded or even discriminated against.
We all are socialized in societies in which exclusion and oppression are commonplace. Privileges, discriminatory behaviour and violations of boundaries do not simply stop at the climate camp. These experiences are painful for the persons affected and often lead to feelings of power- and helplessness, no matter whether they are being inflicted upon them deliberately or unknowingly.
More privileged people might already have normalized ways of behavior and things they say so far that they aren’t seen as discrimination or violations of boundaries. The recognition of your own privileges isn’t always easy and often evokes negative emotions. But this is inevitable if we together want to be on a way towards an emancipatory world in solidarity, without domination or discrimination.
We do not want to distribute neither accusations nor sanctions, but want to point our finger to privileges and imbalances of power. Everyone decides themselves whether a violation of their boundaries has happened, what it feels like and in which way they want to be supported to empower themselves again. We want to offer support to those affected by discrimination and violence, for them to be able to (again) empower themselves and to feel comfortable at the camp.
*** For a climate worth living – for EVERYONE and EVERYWHERE ***
Who are we?
The awareness-team consists of people who are from different political backgrounds and experiences, but apart from that are a very homogenous group. We are mostly white, have a german passport, are cis-gender, young, have high levels of education and have no visible physical or psychological impairments. The people of the awareness group thus are privileged in many respects.
We want to be there for everyone who needs support. But our privileged position prevents us from making certain experiences with discrimination. We concerned ourselves with the power structures existing in our society, but we cannot guarantee to be able to react aware and sensitive enough in every situation.
We offer a space for listening and speaking if you have had experiences with discrimination, but also if you have been involved in a conflict or are in any kind of crisis. We want to be approachable for everything and try to communicate our abilities and limits as clear as possible. If we feel like we can’t help you, we can provide you with contact information of professionals offering support or consultation.
We consider ourselves an open awareness-group: if you want to participate, feel free to approach us. A spirit of trust and a good exchange within the group are important to us.
How do we want to work?
We want to offer support for larger and smaller crises of any kind. We want to show solidarity when dealing with experiences of discrimination or violence (no matter whether it is physical, psychological and/or emotional violence).
But you can also turn to us with interpersonal conflicts, if you need to talk something over after discussions or workshops, if you feel under the pressure to perform, of overburdening or competition – because all this does not stop in emancipatory circles.
When supporting in cases of discrimination and/or violence, we always act on the basis of the power of definition.
This means to us: only the person affected can define whether a violation of their borders has taken place, and what they experience as violence/discrimination. People have subjectively different perceptions, classifications and estimations of violence/discrimination, due to their personal history, present and their experiences. It can not be measured with apparently objective criteria.
While power of definition as a political concept serves us as a point of orientation, we furthermore adopt a partial/biased position. We never question a persons power of definition and we respect it. We hence position ourselves on the side of the person affected and do not doubt their perception. We position ourselves so on the side of the person concerned and not doubting their perception.
The experience of discrimination and violence leads to a restriction of a persons power to act. That’s why we want to support self-empowerment and, if needed, the restoration of the capacity to act. When talking we try to find out what you need right now. We will not do anything that you do not specifically want and we ensure you anonymity and confidentiality. Just ask us if you are unsure whether your issues fit our offer.
Usually there will be two people from the awareness-group to talk to you, generally two women*. According to your needs, you of course can also only talk to one person.
We can speak to you in either German or English. If you want to have the conversation in another language we will try to find appropriate translation.
How and where can you contact us?
There will be an awareness-tent for individual conversations. Also, there is a yurt to rest, which is a space for withdrawal and relaxation. Also, there is a yurt to rest, which is a space for withdrawal and relaxation. At the Infopoint you will see where to find these tents.
We want to be accessible for you in as many different ways as possible, for as many issues as possible and in all urgent cases. Hence, we will have a letterbox, a phone and fixed consultation hours. We still wish for everyone to question their own potentially discriminatory behaviour and for everyone to support others who experience discrimination.
Each day, there will be two people around at the awareness-tent between 16:00 und 17:00 for you to approach them. You can also make an appointment for another time during this hour. If you find us in the awareness-tent at other times you can of course also come and talk to us about any open questions or wishes you might have.
You can also make appointments using this phone number: 0049 1573-2389907. Also, if you do not want to meet us in person (yet), the phone is a good alternative to get to talk. You can call the number 24/7, and you can explicitly use it any time of day, if needed. Please keep in mind, that the person attending the phone at night will most likely be asleep when you call. So don’t be discouraged if your first or even second call isn’t answered right away or the person answering still sounds a bit sleepy.
For everyone preferring to write to us or to stay anonymous, we’ll have a letterbox close to the awareness-tent and one at the Infotent. We’ll look into it at least once a day. Please remember to leave a contact info if you want us to reply.