Hello! It’s me, Jackie. I haven’t written in a while and I’m sorry. My excuse is… that it was the holidays? And now it is the first week of 2019 so it’s a good time to start doing the things that we’ve neglected in 2018. I’m working on finishing a diy project for my pet bunnies AND writing this blog. And I’m serious about it because I even set up a spot in my bullet journal to keep track of what days in January that I blog. Anyway back to Blank Slate- today I would like to write about how we are a Safer Space.
It’s really important to make Blank Slate as welcoming and safe as possible. How could we invite young punks to express themselves and join our community if we weren’t? I see it as our responsibility to the local community and to the diy scene.
What are our policies? For one, we do not tolerate any hateful speech coming from performers or from people who attend our events. Specifically we are listening for hateful comments towards minority groups in diy such as LGBTQ, people of color and women. If we hear a band say something derogatory while they are on our stage, we will call them out. If you are attending the show, you should call them out too.
Another policy is that we do not tolerate violence or harassment. I’ve actually never seen anyone get physical at Blank Slate. Although there was one time in the pit where some super tall guy was throwing elbows around and I tried getting him to stop and he hit me in the mouth. It was not that bad, but still our mosh pits are only for jumping and pushing! I’m trying to create an environment where short girls feel like they can jump around in the front row too! Our violence and harassment policy does apply to outside of the venue. For example, if we hear that a performer abused a women or was racist even when they were at a different venue that person is no longer welcome at Blank Slate. We take this really seriously and we do believe survivors.
Ok so that’s what we do when not safe behavior happens, but there are also things that we do it prevent that from happening. For one, I do Grrrl Gang once a month. Grrrl Gang is a safe meet up for women to make friends and talk about our lives. And we are nonbinary and trans inclusive! Also, we post on our front door that we are a safer space. It’s a cute design that my friend Abby made (check out her bandcamp Ctrl Cult hehe). The idea is that when you first walk in, people will know that they are safe. Or otherwise that they are not welcome to be jerks when they are at the show.
And lastly, maybe the most important thing is that when Eddy is booking our shows he actively tries to support LGBTQ, minorities, and women artists. Like have you seen the acts he is booking? They are amazing and there really is a lot of diversity in comparison to more typical concert venues. Supporting outside of what the norm is so crucial to creating an interesting and long lasting scene. I don’t want to go to shows where it is 4 bands made up 100% of cis white dudes. Not to say that we shouldn’t evaluate musicians just by their music. But what I’m getting at is that there are a lot of artists out there who feel like they can’t perform because the general public isn’t interested in what they have to offer. And that’s BS because those are exactly the kind of artists who end up putting out the most unique work.
Wow I think this is my longest post ever. Hopefully you can tell that I care a lot. Do you have more questions about safer spaces? Feel free to comment below and I will do my best to answer!
Co-Founder of Blank Slate. I do behind-the-scenes stuff and manage the art gallery. You may know me as the grumpy door girl.