Accountability Meeting Minutes

Most recent meeting minutes, once approved, are listed first.

March 23, 2021

In attendance: Laura Watson, Julie Dillon, Megan Hadley (Recorder), Jeannie Sykes, Brett Debney, Annie Wittenberg, Heather Kitchen

On the topic of believing BIPOC claims of harm: “Who are we going to center: whom do we protect?”

A question was raised about how we can do accountability work well as a solely white group and it was acknowledged that we cannot but:

  • We discussed that there has been a call from BIPOC in our professional community to white providers to work together to do the basic work that would reduce harm before inviting BIPOC back to a space that remains unsafe; ie “please do some ground work before you ask stupid-a** questions.”
  • The labor of BIPOC and the importance of doing some work on our own was acknowledged

It was brought up that we should have a routine check in at each meeting regarding anti-racism work.

The naming of a provider in the community in a letter posted on the website was brought up as a point of concern and discussed. Others echoed the same or similar concern and the concerns are not resolved; this is still an open discussion.

It was acknowledged that we will harm (as white people) and that it needs to be normalized so that we can work together and grow in our ability to acknowledge, apologize and repair when we have caused harm.

It was named multiple times that there needs to be a process for accountability in our community that we can follow and that creating a process of accountability is one of the current objectives of this group.

Meeting Minutes from March 1st, 2021 were approved

Next Meeting: April 13th @ 7:15 pm

March 1, 2021

7:15 – 8:15

Present: Laura Watson (recorder), Julie Dillon, Megan Hadley, Jeannie Sykes, Brett Debney, Annie Wittenberg

  • Minutes from meeting 2/16 were approved.
  • Reviewed values document.
  • Do we as a group want to include holding others accountable or leave accountability up to the individual person?
    • Group agreed to include statement under “education/personal growth” section that we believe it is important to hold one another accountable, with a defined accountability process to do so
  • Group clarified we believe those who vocalize harm and to follow accountability process for the process of repairing, to the degree desired by those who have been harmed
  • Group viewed ASDAH website language/formatting on putting ideas/values into practice; group felt ASDAH website did a good job formatting and may use this as an example: https://asdah.org/about-asdah/
  • Group expanded concept of individual members seeking out their own education and understanding of anti-racism/doing own anti-racism work, in addition to having group accountability.  The purpose of individual members doing their own independent anti-racism work is to better be able to hold others accountable and receive feedback from others; group prioritizes learning from BIPOC sources
  • Group agreed to add statement under “equity” about believing BIPOC when they say they’ve been harmed.  Adding this statement is important as an attempt to foster as much trust as possible
    • Extensive discussion ensued regarding concept of invariable belief; one member questioned if this is appropriate or if it is possibly patronizing or even demeaning to BIPOC 
  • Group feels that values, as stated, are a good foundation.  We will probably make adjustments over time, but group is comfortable with values stated thus far
  • Next steps are for group members to review ASDAH website listed above for formatting tools.  
  • How will we use these values/this document to take action steps going forward; how will we translate this into action?
  • Jeannie volunteered to spearhead translating document into a more actionable set of steps; group decided to divide topics instead of all the burden falling on Jeannie
    • Annie and Jeannie will work on educational/personal growth
    • Brett will work on equity
    • Megan will work on inclusion
    • Laura will work on empathy
  • Julie will work on some initial formatting: “We believe” on the left and “we strive to” on the right
  • Our next meeting will be 3/23 at 7:15

02/16/2021

7:15 – 8:15

Present

Julie Dillon, Brett Debney, Megan Hadley, Heather Kitchen, Jenna Stack, Jeannie Sykes (recorder), Laura Watson and Annie Wittenberg.

  1. The minutes from 1/12/21 meeting were edited and approved.  Julie will re-post the edited minutes to the website. 
  1. We discussed ways in which the following value could be fostered in our group:  

Adopting an openness to criticism fosters a sense of safety and trust among members so that they can provide honest feedback.

Suggestions: 

  • Acknowledge that it is often uncomfortable to both give and receive feedback. 
  • Acknowledge we all make mistakes.  
  • When giving feedback to include “three yeses and a no” (invitational therapy) or in form of the “sandwich” (positive-negative-positive comment).  
  • Ask permission before giving feedback if not requested, and be prepared for the individual to say they’re not ready at this time. 
  • Consider feedback individually or in the group. 
  • Encourage asking questions to clarify meaning and intention.  
  • Encourage and coach each other to use empathic communication and active listening skills.  
  • Normalize conflict as appropriate. 
  • Check in with each member of the group. 
  • Review:  https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-recognizing-criticism-contempt-defensiveness-and-stonewalling/
  • Review the Stages of Group Development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Working, Adjourning
  1. It was agreed to add to our values document, “Education and Personal Growth,” and ways to achieve this were briefly discussed, including: 
  • Be intentional about growth and development.  
  • Challenge ourselves regarding social justice topics.
  1. Scheduled the next two meetings, both 7:15-8:15 PM: Monday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 16.
  • At next meeting, we will continue to refine our values document.  
  • Julie will share on Google docs again, and we are encouraged to review and provide feedback (edit in Review mode).  
  • Zoom invitation remains the same.

Greensboro Eating Disorder Professional Accountability + Repair Meeting Minutes

01/26/2021

7:15 – 8:15

Present

Julie Dillon, Brett Debney, Megan Hadley, Heather Kitchen, Jenna Stack, Jeannie Sykes, Laura Watson and Annie Wittenberg.

Recorder

Heather Kitchen

Main Discussion

The group began by revisiting our values statement to delineate it further. We decided to focus on how we will define inclusion as a value specifically to our group. Developing an accountability process was determined by the group as essential to ensure that our actions are aligned with our values. After members brainstormed on ideas and wording, we arrived at the preliminary definition:

  1. Support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in the way they explicitly want to be supported. We acknowledge that in doing so we may not meet necessarily every demand or request .
  2. We seek to have an equitable group where fairness is a primary guiding principle.
  3. Harm is inevitable. As such, we seek to repair and to make amends if repair is possible and consented to by those we have harmed.

Group had many discussions in specifying how we can develop a successful repair process:

  • Strive to be compassionate in the repair process when we are responsible for harm
  • Embrace opportunities for healthy engagement in conflict
  • Strive to see and understand the perspective of others in managing conflict.
  • Although critical, the process of navigating conflict with one another will often be uncomfortable.
  • Adopting an openness to criticism fosters a sense of safety and trust among members so that they can provide honest feedback.
  • The purpose of the group in general and our specific task for this meeting was clarified. The group stated that it is an organization of eating disorder professionals who seek to develop a safer, inclusive and transparent process. This process aims to hold one another accountable and to ensure that all members may safely voice their needs or concerns.
  • To aid in providing the scaffolding, structure and format in developing our value statements, a member suggested that the group examine the published mission statements developed by other organizations, such as the New Garden Friends School/Meeting.

The group decided to post minutes on our website eatingdisordersprofessionals.com a week before the next meeting. It was also agreed that a draft document of our values statement will be provided.

Next Meeting

Tuesday, 2/16/21 at 7:15 pm

01/12/2021

7:15 – 8:15

Present

Julie Dillon, Brett Debney, Jenna Stack, Laura Watson, Annie Wittenberg, Megan Hadley, Jeannie Sykes.

Recorder

Brett Debney

Preliminary Discussion

Discussed procedure for minutes and whether or not to publish them. It was noted that we want people to feel able to discuss hard things and that we want to keep a sense of safety. It decided minutes would include what was discussed without attributing the words to a particular speaker.

Previous Minutes

It was decided that the previous minutes (from 12/15/20) would be revised to remove people’s names, and this document would then be forwarded to the group. The group will review the 12/15/20 minutes at the next meeting.

Main Discussion

The group spent time identifying and defining this group’s values. It was noted that it is important to be specific in order to help others to really understand what these values mean, i.e. to avoid language that is too general.

Values discussed today were Equity and Inclusion. The focus was on brainstorming, and the document containing these ideas is currently a living document that will remain under revision until it is finalized.

Several side discussions occurred as values were discussed and identified.

  • It was recommended that treatment providers should take a look at Whitney Trotter’s article
  • What do we want to do to stay active in anti-racism to ensure there is less harm?
  • Collaborate with or financially support a group dedicated to taking down barriers
    • Find organizations to support, such as Sage and Spoon
    • Find organizations already doing this work, such as Diversify Dietetics
    • Explore this more after values are fleshed out

It was agreed that meeting minutes and the Values document should be placed in a Google Docs folder for group members to have access.

Next Meetings

Tuesday, 1/26/21 at 7:15

Tuesday, 2/16/21 at 7:15

12/15/20

In attendance: Julie Duffy Dillon, Laura Watson, Megan Hadley, Jeannie Sykes, Jenna Stack, Brett Debney, Annie Wittenberg (Recorder), Heather Kitchen, Debra Benfield

Introductions

Intentions 

What brought us here

-Explanation of lack of accountability process 

-Didn’t have a way for people to come forward if they were hurt

-Didn’t have an accountability process or a person to whom someone can come

-We want a process that doesn’t elicit shame or blame; a process where we can work together in a safe place

-Not just a place where we can vocalize concerns but also a more equitable space in addition to an accountable space

-We want to honor one another and communicate with one another with respect and humility

-The role of Michelle Nicole, a transformative justice consultant of Passion and Power, in providing questions for the group.

Discussion about transparency and repair  

-Opened up the space to ask any questions about what transpired

-Rift in community; people feeling offended

-What do we tell people about this conflict? (colleagues particularly)

-What happened?

-Just be transparent about facts (harm was done + now we’re trying to repair)

-Rift

-Us + them dynamic

-ASDAH’s involvement?

-Moving past without any repair process often happens in white communities

-We’re getting away from the harm that was reported by the “us versus them” 

-There are sides because of centering the wrong voices.

-The person who named the harm did not disclose the details

-Not trying to exclude anyone/have a rift

-Irrespective of what has happened, we need to move forward with being more inclusive with all differences

-The focus is not on specifically what happened but how we move forward with equity and accountability

Clarity around group format(s)

-Group for Black providers? 

-Clarified anonymous process for Black providers

-That space is necessary and essential

How can we bridge the gap now to make a community that’s better? 

  • Make sure we have a community that can get messy and not shy away from that
  • Becoming more comfortable in conflict
  • What kind of community do we want to be? 

-Hard to make rules as all white people for the whole diverse community

-Creating a group of providers that is accountable to both the community and ourselves; we acknowledge the limitation of this group given that only includes white providers.

-Local Black providers may not be in a place to do emotional labor right now even if they are paid; there’s not enough emotional safety right now; let’s try to make some rules and then they can always be edited later through a non-white lens

-It’s a process; always going to have implicit bias

-We can be conscious and deliberate and try to do our best

-Wish we could be beyond this but we’re not

-We have to start somewhere; maybe the best we can do right now

-Rather than framing this as larger community (beyond our scope) thinking of this as just the group of 9 of us

What kind of community do we want to be? (For the 9 of us!)

-Whatever we talk about now is going to be molded and changed 

-No model for this 

-We are the model!

-Trying to bring to light exclusion, inequity, etc. in ED communities and we want to share this with our colleagues

Values:

-Equity

-Inclusion

-Empathy

-Kindness

-Gentleness

-Maybe fleshing out these values more in future meeting? 

Pace of Meetings

-What frequency do we want to meet in the future?

-Not going to get through everything

-Defining, determining direction, etc.

-Maybe the first few meetings a little more often at first would be helpful to keep momentum

Next meeting: 

7:15pm January 12th 

7:15pm January 26th

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