welcome to the red victorian

Dear Red Victors,

Welcome to your new home, the Red Victorian. This is your introduction and resource guide to our cultural values. We suggest you star, bookmark, keep, this e-mail for future use as we’ve found many of these cultural values and resources need to be revisited from time to time. You may have encountered some of these values in the vision and mission part of our website before moving in, and this book will not only give you more in-depth information, but also provide valuable resources and how-to’s for living these values at the Red Victorian as part of everyday life in your new home. If you run into a difficult situation, the best places to start are with this Helpful Numbers Resource Guide and with this chart that helps guide you through what to do when something difficult happens at the Red Victorian.

We believe in creating a culture of consent and accountability.

We live this value by seeking affirmative and enthusiastic consent in all aspects of life at the Red Victorian. Consent is the vital starting point for our community’s culture. When in doubt, ask first. This ethos applies to everything from hugging to conversations. You may see some members of our community take action without verbally asking for consent. This does not mean consent is not necessary, rather this often means those individuals have negotiated consent previously. However, please feel free to check in with individuals if you see what you interpret as areas where consent communications could be improved.

We also live this value by adhering to and working on an accountable spaces policy. We all try our best to navigate the complex waters of consent and humanity, and when we make mistakes, we try to be forthright and honest about them. For more information on how we deal with our mistakes, please see the section on accountability.

We live the value of consent in these simple ways:

  1. Ask first, every time, all the time.

  2. Only move forward with a touch, action, conversation, if you have received an enthusiastic "yes".

  3. Talk about consent with your housemates and guests.

We also live the value of accountability in these simple ways:

  1. Follow-up on action steps - This means when you commit to doing something, you follow through on the task, or ask for assistance with the task, or clearly communicate that you are now unable to do the task.

  2. Acknowledging our own failures without shame or judgment as well as allowing other to acknowledge their failures without shame or judgment.

We believe in trying to more equitably divide the work of caring for each other.

We live this value by all participating in the stewardship circle program. All residents participate in the stewarding program, and have meetings with their steward and stewardee once a month. The Stewardship Circles Chart tells you who your steward and stewardee are, and the Stewardship Circles Resource Guide gives you some sample prompts and goals for stewarding.

You can also live the value of equitable division of care in these simple ways:

  • By checking in on the well-being of your housemates when you are able by asking how people are doing and being open to a range of responses

  • Explicitly offering support to housemates who are struggling, even if it is just chocolate or the offer of a hug

  • By making explicit and repeated offers of care

    • This means letting the house know if you are available to help people through emotional and personal issues, and letting them know when and how you are able to do this

    • This means saying things like: If anyone needs someone to talk to about recent events feel free to come knock on my door every night this week until 10pm.

  • By making care work visible This means privately or publicly acknowledging care work you see being done This means saying thank you when someone cares for you This means openly accepting thanks for care work by saying “you are welcome” instead of minimizing your emotional care contributions with phrases like “no problem” or “no big deal”

For deeper engagement with this value check these out:

Discussions in the house and network on Emotional Labor, Emotional work, and Ethics of Care This Emotional Labor Resource List

We believe in collaboration, participation, and do-ing.

We value having an active house of folks who participate in ways that feel comfortable, and who keep every space in excellent shape for everyone. This means joining or starting whatever projects fits your fancy and always cleaning up and leaving things better than you found them. We also are experimenting with a number of ways to make decisions, start projects, and take on tasks. We see these experiments living expressions of our belief in collaboration, participation, and do-ing.

You can live these values in the following ways:

  • Beautify a space

  • Join one of the many projects happening in and around the house

  • Wash an extra dish, clean an extra paintbrush, or do a little extra to keep every space project-ready

  • Join the discussions and announcements on the various Slack channels in the Embassy-Network Slack Team:

    #rv_announcements; #rv_community; #rv_events; #rv_finances; #rv_food;

Other slack channels on the Red Victorian (#rv_*) can be found by searching all channels

We believe in creating a culture that is sex-positive, works against oppression, and strives to be as open as possible.

We live this value by allowing everyone to make their own choices without shame or judgment as long as those choices are centered in enthusiastic consent. This also means we embrace a plethora of identities, political positions, and life choices. This also means we seek to welcome conversations on any topic and try to avoid shaming or creating discomfort around traditionally taboo topics like sex, illness, and more. At the Red Victorian, we all expect to encounter unfamiliar concepts, ideas, people and identities and we try to embrace these unfamiliar experiences with humility, open hearts and open minds. We expect we will all make mistakes in these areas and try to be compassionate with each other and ourselves when we do.

We live these values in the following ways:

  • Striving to use inclusive language such as “hey folks”, instead of “hey ladies and gentlemen”.

  • Avoiding hateful language, slurs, and stereotypes

  • Using non-violent communication

  • Embracing the idea of multiples truths

  • Learning from our mistakes

    For deeper engagement with this value check these out:

  • Sex-Positive Culture Resource List

  • Anarchist Book List

  • We believe in offering alternative justice options.

    We live this value by participating the network-wide alternative justice project. For deeper engagement with this value check these out: Read this article on the history of Restorative Justice and Transformative Justice The #alt_justice slack channel on the Embassy Network Slack

We also believe in the Core Values of the Embassy Network.

We live the value of experimentation through our experiments with running and living in a hotel, by experimenting with use of space, and by encouraging all types of experiments in our home. We live the value of openness by welcoming challenges to normative patterns, seeking financial transparency, and being vulnerable with each other when we feel able. We live the value of consensual engagement through our participation in house meetings, our sharing of domestic labor like doing our dishes, (and a few extra for good luck), keeping public spaces like the main room and the lounge clean, washing, drying and folding guest sheets, cleaning food areas, and taking in and out the trash. We also live this value by honoring everyone’s right to privacy and autonomy, and by always asking for consent in all areas of human interaction. Finally, we live the value of learning and unlearning through constantly evaluating our experiments and sharing our failures and success with each other.

In support of this value here are some learnings from current and past residents:

  • Constantly strive to try new things

  • Practice mutual support

  • Respect people’s privacy

  • Don't get emotionally attached to things.

  • Make dinner for your housemates

  • Take some quiet time on the roof

  • Resign power/control to those who are/willing to make decisions.

  • Challenging normative structures and systems in our own systems.

  • Practice active listening

  • Initiating projects that benefit the community, and help others achieve whatever they are striving for

We hope this guide is something that can help you for as long as you live at the Red Victorian and beyond. Please keep it handy and refer to it whenever you need a refresher. Also, feel free to ask any resident about these values or how we try to live them every day.

In solidarity,

The Red Victorian Crew