Building Accountable Communities
A Video Series

Accountability is a familiar buzz-word in contemporary social movements, but what does it mean? How do we work toward it? In this series of four short videos, anti-violence activists Kiyomi Fujikawa and Shannon Perez-Darby ask and explore: What does it look like to be accountable to survivors without exiling or disposing those who do harm?

On October 26, 2018, Kiyomi and Shannon joined the Barnard Center for Research on Women for an online discussion exploring models of building accountable communities. This conversation was framed by audience questions and moderated by Mariame Kaba. View the corresponding video series below.

Conversation created by Kiyomi Fujikawa and Shannon Perez-Darby. Filmed by Christina Antonakos-Wallace. Videos edited by Dean Spade and Hope Dector. Part of a series of workshops and videos on community accountability and transformative justice; conceived by Mariame Kaba, Just Practice Collaborative, and Project NIA.

Key Points & Questions

What is Accountability?

  • Accountability is taking responsibility for your choices and the consequences of those choices.
  • What do we do with people who do harm? How do we help people to be responsible without relying on the criminal legal system?
  • We cannot end domestic violence and sexual assault without learning how to support people who do harm in practicing accountability.
Key Points & Questions

What is Self-Accountability?

  • Are the choices that you are making every day aligning with your values? Self-accountability is doing your best approximation of who you want to be.
  • Each of us building skills around self-accountability is how we collectively build accountable communities.
Key Points & Questions

Self-Accountability and Survivors

  • Self-accountability offers survivors a chance to make sense of their experiences without having to reconcile with a person who has done harm. / Self-accountability provides a powerful tool for healing without external validation.
  • Domestic violence is a pattern of power and control that includes moments of care and of violence. That pattern slowly degrades choices for survivors. Self-accountability can give survivors a sense of choice and self-determination.
  • It’s hard to heal when you feel shame.
Key Points & Questions

People Who do Harm are not Monsters

  • People who batter are not monsters. They are human beings in our communities.
  • Portraying all batterers as monsters can create a disconnect for survivors.
  • Each of us needs to increase our ability to hold the complexity of seeing someone as a full human and seeing the harm they have done.
About the Speakers

Kiyomi Fujikawa works within movements to end gender-based violence, organizing with Queer and Trans communities of color around preventing and responding to intimate partner violence and towards racial, gender and economic justice.

Shannon Perez-Darby has spent 12 years as a community advocate working within LGBTQ communities and communities of color to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence.  She is a queer, mixed Latina writer, survivor, community activist and author of the piece “The Secret Joy of Accountability: Self-accountability as a Building Block for Change” in the seminal book The Revolution Starts at Home. Shannon’s passion lies in supporting communities to actualize our dreams in our day-to-day lives.

Mariame Kaba is an organizer and an abolitionist, the founder of Project NIA, co-founder several organizations including of Survived and Punished, and a current BCRW activist in residence.