Omni Delegates' Meeting - May 20th, 2021 7pm-9pm
- Talk at https://meet.google.com/diw-hszw-msr or 515-428-1108 (PIN: 465814905)
- Type at https://omnicommons.org/notes
- Send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting
- Facilitator/s: Asaad
- Notetaker/s: yar jenny
- Next meeting's facilitator(s):
- ANV: inactive
- CCL: Patrik
- CSC: roberto
- FNB: helen & joe
- FYE: AB
- LL: inactive
- Sudo Room: yar or jenny
- Sudo Mesh: juul
- Quorum (2/3 of active groups):
- We are front-loading most of the meeting into these intros! Now is the time to put forward any of the following things, many of which used to have their own meeting sections
- introduce yourself: name, pronoun, affiliation, if you're a delegate
- do you have any unmet access needs at this meeting?
- what meeting roles you'd like to help with
- discussion topics or proposals you'd like to put on tonight's agenda
- report-backs from any of your working groups
- updates from your collective
- any brief announcements
- updates on any conflict mediation
- if you've asked anybody to leave the building due to safe space issues
- please be BRIEF! Less than 4 minutes per person! Anything that might take longer must be put on the agenda as a discussion item
- jane: she/her, GWS, in fundraising committee
- fundraising will proposal to organize a celebration party when we reopen
- robb he/him FNB
- bree she/they NOMA
- vicky they/them NOMA, commons & comms wg
- free store trial has begun, set up in entrance hall
- marc he/him sudomesh
- new routers coming, prep for gigabit
- access control improvements coming, starting with sudo/ccl room. rfid instead of swipe cards. please send feedback about access needs & requirements in particular rooms
- roberto CSC
- organizing film screenings, 5th annual art festival @ omni
- zapatistas sailing to europe
- jenny she/her sudoroom/mesh
- sarah sent our 990 tax form, working on budgets, messaging every day
- ab/asaad he/him FYE, stack & facilitating
- FYE breaking ground renovating space. will repaint floors to make them cleanable. moving stuff out to free space. putting things on wheels. cleared noma's new space. doing a pop-up in berkeley retail space "endangered spaces" @ university & sacramento, next to "out of the closet". to reach new demographics.
- patrik he/him CCL, want to talk about reopening logistics
- joe he/him
- FNB is rolling along, looking for a new vehicle to replace disastrovan
- final proposal in pdf form https://omnicommons.org/pipermail/consensus/attachments/20210506/927398d5/attachment-0001.pdf
- member collective application from january https://omnicommons.org/pipermail/consensus/attachments/20210105/9b2d6855/attachment-0002.pdf
- bree: we wrote the draft based on jenny's template. vicky submitted the collective application back in january. sorry we sent it in chunks, i didn't realize they were all part of the same thing. POU = points of unity. we've met a few times in person to talk about political stance, how we're organizing as a collective. it's not final, still drafting, but it's where we are. but it's to address concerns about whiteness within noma & omni
- vicky: been working on POU >6 months. AB & i had a conversation about having a specific statement from noma that addresses our own group's racial demographic and what we're doing to address white supremacy within our group
- also sorry for my photoshop lack of spacial awareness in the image. i can fix it quickly.
- jenny: in the floorplan image, it's about twice as wide as actually intended
- 250 square feet is correct, would amount to the left half of that area in the current map (to west of staircase to basement, up to start of medialab)
- AB: in regards to the space, i did help to facilitate NOMA moving to that area, had busyweek in half hour and a half was able to check out fiscal sponsorship agreement and points of unity, i think overall it's great and much in line with enthusiasm there's overall shared with NOMA becoming officially a member collective, i wanted to follow up on addressing white supremacy and diversity in omni and adding folks to board. following up on my discussions with vicky about it being tangibly addressed, within the fiscal sponsorship agreement i think the POU is solid, not that it's meant to address whiteness within NOMA. i'm just being critical because i really care about this because i am concerned about diversity and whiteness in omni. in these bullet points i see how NOMA centers woman voices and i support that but when it says NOMA centers black POC indigenous voices i have yet to see that. my concern is how this is gonna effect omni on a racial diversity level. then there was the square feet being not 250 sqft, that was 11 by 22 sqft, i know that doesn't add up to 250. just visuall defining it i think having it amended and visually correct in the sponsorship agreement is key. there was one thing i didn't really understand in the sponsorship agreement on the amount of people who are check signers vs the amount of people who are on the coordinating comittee related to racial diversity. i'm trying to understand the racial diversity within the people on paper. really excited about NOMA to join, but i think it's key in this moment that we be as meticiously as possible with the fiscal sponsorship agreement so we don't have future problems rooted in the fiscal sponsorship agreement.
- yar: 11 x 22 = 242
- vicky: noma was started by entirely black & brown people. i was the first white person, i watched it get a lot whiter, which i think is indicative of white supremacy and i was definitely complicit in that. we recognize it's a problem. we're still connected with the people who started it, they're all mad busy. we decided to take a break in july to take a deep community-needs assessment of how we do things. i recognize that it feels like we center black voices when the people showing up to our zoom meetings aren't necessarily the black people who've been involved. i hear you AB. i appreciate your thoughts on this.
- robb: last 2 collectives that've joined omni have been primarily or exclusively POC. i'm grateful for that trajectory that we're on. i'd like to point out that in the beginning when NORJC called ... for the local community under the bridge and expanded it ot the greater area. in the beginning it was diana wu, leo from norjc, and ramy from ccl, and they seemed to be the main organizers for some time. then it started to shift. are they still on board? it doesn't seem like they're involved anymore. i just hope that was their decision, just curious, idk. i'd like to understand why they're not involved i guess.
- patrik: ramy's real busy, not really involved in CCL either
- bree: diana's very much involved still. leo still comes to distro. there's an interesting thing that's happening - distro days (from what i've seen) have a lot more poc than in coordinating meeting. maybe the video chat's less accessible? we're reassessing. to AB's point, the check writers are different from coordinating committee - one person asked to be removed. bree & diana are both on finance wg. other person does shopping runs. we added the folks who stepped up to do it. we're in an interesting process because we're thinking about that restructure. like what if we put time limits on coordination? cap on white people in coordinating group? movement is happening. we appreciate you continue to reinforce those points. i appreciate the thoughtfulness of wanting to hurry this process along in some ways, and in noma's end, we're also ok with taking a little time if there's things we wanna talk about. we do have some money floating around so it'd be ideal to do it quicker, but i honor that a sense of urgency is part of white supremacy, and we wanna take time to answer everyone's questions
- patrik: i think noma's exactly what we should be doing at omni. all in favor. a couple nitpicks
- the sponsorship agreement list of check signers should say "or"?
- jenny: that'd be the check signers authorized to sign, so it can be multiple people
- yar: let's take that as a friendly amendment
- patrik: are there more people on the coordinating committee? i only see 3. thought it was strange
- vicky: we're huge, many people, we function fluidly, it's hard to name everyone, so we didn't. the people who did want to take on being on the paperwork are the ones listed.
- patrik: how much of a problem do you think it'd be to pay $250/mo? how much do you pull in atm?
- bree: we're offering 250 because we feel we'll be able. offering to reevaluate in 6mos. still figuring out what it'll look like. right now we just fundraising when we are running out, but ti doesn't create a lot of clarity about what's our budget & our needs. we're creating a budget for distro & free store. we have access via venmo fundraising, we had an event with distro sales. we got a small grant that was available without fiscal sponsorship. we want to offer more when we think we can
- jenny: originally omni was meant to enable folks doing good work. to that end, the people listed bureaucratically don't always represent the people doing the work because of division of labor. important to discuss further. intent was to take the crap labor out of peoples' hands - not having power over decisionmaking, just the work/labor of handling budgets, filings, drudgery that comes with having an entity/space/etc. idea is to serve in that functionary role and take the bulk of that labor out of the hands of those doing the good work. of course this comes into the question of "what does that mean wrt power?" if you have an org or group that operates via consensus and can't really make decisions without consensus of larger group, then that work does become dictated. say noma's finance cmte is ultimately under the juristiction of consensus of the group, i'm assuming [bree nods]. that's how sudoroom/mesh works, and most of the groups at omni. doing the bureaucratic necessity is a service that can be done by those with privilege in various extents. but also can be checked by the governance structure of any given group. people doing the work don't make the decisions over how funds are spent.
- bree: Yes, finance committee brings back decisions to larger group for consensus in NOMA
- asaad: i appreciate your transparency, i'm just trying to return it with our concerns. you can't just say you prioritize black voices without making it tangible. your coordinating committee needs to rep more diversity. i believe you have a big fluid group. within that, yall can really achieve a racial diversity much easier because of the volunteer basis. but in this whole process of joining as a member collective, what's key is the people on paper. you're the ones sitting at the table, you'll receive this distributive power in terms of decisionmaking within omni. there should be at least a black voice in your CC. it's only right, only fair. a fundamental way to get more insight and understanding in terms of equity and what you already do, the communities affected. to me there's no other way this POU statement can really be embodied in the present moment if it's not through a more racially diverse CC. i'm always more in the "and and" mentality rather than the "or". yall have said multiple times, it started out black & brown and shifted, which is cool and all, but where do you stand? what to those folks feel about noma joining omni? how they feel about the CC stated on paper? that falls in line with the restructuring you're going through and the break you're taking. i think it makes sense if you all restructure and figure out that aspect of the coordinating, and have the roots/origin story come full circle. needs to be more tangibly visible in real life. it's cool to talk about it, but just in tangibly, CC needs to be more diverse. robb talked about a momentum of diversity with new collectives coming in. wanna stress the importance of voices at the table, in this meeting, diversity within that, and not just the group as a whole. needs to be more BIPOC speaking on behalf of noma. at the end of the day yall have been operating well within the omni. i wanna support that. i absolutely loved seeing the free store the other day. probably looking even better now. i fully s
upport noma joining. i just want this to embody what's actually being said. FYE take the stand that this goes beyond just words. needs to be materialized and embodied. beyond that, NOMA's fantastic and i want to help in any way possible, by taking this clear stand now rather than a passive aggressive thing that happens over time. sorry if that slows down this process. urgency does root in white supremacy. glad you brought that up. if you're centering black voices we want to see that. when we vote you all in - i want this to happen - i awnt it to be as diverse as possible. that's my stand. i hope it's constructive. if you are restructuring, all WS aside, i think trying to rush to vote you in does seem premature
- robb: last year noma's enjoyed free use of ballroom. sometimes omni rents entrance hall and noma's operations could be limited to basement and scuttled out the side door or whatever. is that a flexibility you can entertain or are you demanding a hard "these days we always get the ballroom or entrance hall or whatnot"
- bree: we are moving to basement because we know the ballroom's needed. we'll be flexible.
- jenny: for instance, the radical zine fest, we'd communicate in advance
- robb: generally common space was preferring outside groups that were paying. by default stuff could be packeged into the basement. i'm satisfied
- jenny: i believe we also talked about having someone from noma on commons wg
- robb: it's only a couple times a year
- jane: i want to address how jenny was describing taking on responsibility at omni, and how painful that is to me to hear you describe what's happened in fin/fun as sort of a bureaucratic slogging away, which it was, and pretty unappreciated, and i understand why you decided to leave when you did, because it is a hard job and underappreciated. but to describe it how you did ... when maryann and i came into finance, it was a hard time, we were afraid of losing omni. we had no intention of power & control or anything like that. so it pains me to hear the description put out at a delegates meeting like that
- Jenny: Jane, so sorry, Jane. I (and I presume most everybody) are so increíble appreciative of the work y'all have been doing with fin/fun. I was just speaking to the point of omni as an entity serving those without the knowledge and resources to engage on that side of it, freeing them up to do the work. I couldn't serve with workload after ~summer 2020 for various reasons, that shouñd be separate from the point I was tryna make
- bree: we've talked about your points AB. we recognize words are just words. that's part of this break. taking some time makes sense to make sure it's good for everyone. our community assessment will mean how to make our meetings more accessible. also mindful of security culture - make sure people doing coordinating are people we know, who've been part of noma. creating more access & visibility. we're thinking things through the way you suggested. our break will be 4-6 weeks, and i'm not sure at the end of that we can guarantee... it depends on how folks... it'll be a fluid process. we may not have more folks of color & black folks in coordination by then, we can't force folks to do that, want to make it more accessible for folks. will be hard to work collectively and make that sustainable. a lot of what we've heard is that our meetings are not accessible for black & brown folks, becaues of the frequency. i don't wanna create a false impression or expectation that at the end of the break you'll have what you're asking for. to honor what robb said, we've been using space for free, we're grateful. so part of becoming a member collective is so we can contribute money. i think there's a balance here to strike around taking that time and being realistic of what we can do in that time before this gets approval so we can get around paying for the space. i'm finding difficulty because i don't disagree with you and i don't think this is wrong, but i want to hold that balance. we want to be part of omni in a more full way, to pay our portion. longer this process takes we're not doing that.
- asaad: i appreciate that. the logistics are key & crucial of what fiscal sponsorship would entail. but the main & center concern i have has to do with diversity within this board and representation of voices. i think everybody should somewhat resonate with this idea of, let's move towards a racially diverse future where all voices are represented. i have to take a firm stance. for FYE we'd have to block this until we feel more comfortable with the concerns expressed. if money is holding you back, idk what that even means, if it's logistical? you can't make payments? if you have money to share i think you can still do that unless i'm misstepping or making wrong assumptions
- bree: i agree. it's not that we can't start paying dues, it's that we're limited in our ability to access additional funding, questions around tax liability for individuals which can be another barrier. as we organize with venmo, etc, if we don't have fiscal sponsorship, that is much harder.
- robb: can we put a 3-6 month review period and then get an idea of what's going on then? cuz i think everyone supports what noma's doing in theory but there's questions that won't be worked out quickly
- roberto: maybe in next meeting we go back to circle order? we do that at CSC because it centers the space, for us to listen rather than talk. important, transforms the space to be more receptive and thoughtful about what your response is gonna be. gonna take 10-20 minutes to come back to you. it's better, easier, allows for more people to speak. what NOMA's doing is in alignment with what omni's doing - helping our community out ourselves. kept omni in an active role, appreciate that. i hear the concerns about diversity but i think the POU, even having that conversation internally, speaks volumes of where your mindset is at. even though it's not represented perhaps, it's a great foundation and guiding star to where you wanna go. i think that's an example that omni as a collective of collectives should be looking at, cuz we need to have those conversations as well. having noma push for those is beneficial to us - just one example of how having noma could be beneficial to the existential crisis or understanding of who we are as omni. so CSC is in support of that. our only concern is clutter at omni. noma being donation-oriented there's a constant flow of stuff - free store, distribution drives - we're still concerned it could get out of hand. is there a policy?
- bree: we want a formal policy on clutter
- helen: just wanna say there's 2 things noma is asking for. fiscal sponsorship + membership. i think a lot of the hesitation is about what it'd mean for noma to be a member. but perhaps we could move on the fiscal sponsorship.
- jenny agrees
- asaad: in my mind i'd been trying to understand if there was a distinction. i'm all in favor for the technicalities of noma being sorted out. it makes sense. if this is blocking them from making money and being able to pay omni, sure. from our experience, we joined as both at once. how does this distinction manifest?
- joe: appreciating the loving transparency and bree & vicky sincerely taking it in. sets a very high mark for the rest of us. seems like we're now ushering in a period of transition if we're all going to meet the standards AB is asking for and NOMA is pledging to try & live up to. may it be so!
- marc: we decided we're ok with taxation without representation
- yar: only for white people
- consensus on fiscal sponsorship: YES (sudo ccl fnb fye gws csc), ABSTAIN (mesh), BLOCK (no)
- consenso on membership AB/FYE blocks, tabling
It is time for our annual Omni Board of Directors and Officers nominations and election! If you are considering running for an officer position (or nominating another!), please review the Officer Duties doc here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/18qTUgFjRM_76C0oi3x_3QTU4tjtXyY8jEmVh-3GIqks/edit#heading=h.imwvnk3u96d4
- President: John Torok
- Secretary: Jane Welford
- Treasurer: Robb Benson
Current Board members (decided by individual collectives, but posted here for general awareness):
- ANV: Kelly Carlisle
- Chiapas Support Committee: Mary Ann Tenuto
- Counter Culture Labs: Patrik D'haeseleer
- East Bay Food Not Bombs: Joseph Liesner
- FYE Collective: Asaad Bruno Benmiloud
- Global Womens Strike - Omni Collective: Rachel West
- Liberated Lens: Robert Benson (?)
- Sudo Room: Jennifer Ryan
- Sudo Mesh: Marc Juul Christoffersen
- John expressed interest to stay on as President
- Jane not interested in continuing as secretary. Dane is NOT interested (yar was mistaken)
- jenny: we haven't done enough outreach. is it empowering to be on the board of a complicated nonprofit? maybe i guess if you can put on your resume that you're learning skills. but ultimately officers don't have core power, just responsibilities. i withdrew last year. one ideal would be to get more people in positions of "presumed power", but personally i had to withdraw last year with a very intense work burden, and also conflicts. but with sarah being on board, we text often, continually collaborating, i'd be happy to hold down that role with sarah holding due diligence. we passed a proposal 2 years ago that laura brought, around a position of "in training" for up & coming people in officer roles. i think that'd be cool to bring back and do outreach around, in general to have folks representing omni's legal positions.
- robb: i don't mind cutting my beard off and giving it to jenny if necessary. as far as being treasurer, i only agreed to it because i felt we needed someone. i don't feel that there's that need anymore now that sarah's involved. so if someone else is interested and wanting to do it i'd gladly step down
- so the slate is: john for president (again), jenny for treasurer (replacing robb) and jane will continue as secretary until we find a replacement (we'll try asap). collectives will discuss this and hopefully consent next meeting.
- when to turn on key cards? when to have events? different rules for vaccinated people?
- doc patrik has been working on: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1lINDe6awkBxiTrXc280A23OKCEp46iKTf2PegIX9Mgw/edit#
- tabled once again
- let's make space for invested folks/orgs to discuss next week - jenny will send out an email to ccl, fnb, anv, sudo (feel free to add emails/groups below)
- tabled, i guess
End of Meeting
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