An update & a note from the Pod members
We (Charlie’s pod and the relevant consultants) wanted to share some thoughts with you, prompted by some recent concerns about what our work focuses on and how we’re communicating with you.
We have been working with Charlie for 2-ish years to support and guide his work towards accountability for his harms — both individual and harms to community — that he engaged in. While our flow and focus has fluctuated, our core original goals haven’t really changed; our original statement was that we’re here to “gear up for an honest and public assessment of his harmful actions — one that can bear witness to those he has hurt and help transform the conditions, both internal and external, that enabled said harms.” We also had a goal for folks taht Charlie harmed: “to allow them to have their process, and to restore autonomy and agency as much as possible.” We’ve had two main focuses — the outreach to survivors, handled by a subset of our group that works under strong ethical guidance and with a clear confidentiality plan, and the work with Charlie to inventory, understand, and address the harms that he’s done, along with creating clearer guidelines for his work with clients and communities to minimize further harm.
The accountability process that we’re engaging in is also a learning process, for us and for our communities. We are constantly learning, holding each other’s feet to the fire, and working together to improve not only our process, but to document our experience in hopes that other groups and communities that wish to do accountability work can learn from our process including its mistakes. We’ve gotten feedback specifically that our outward communication has been overly academic sounding, and hasn’t been happening frequently enough; we’re making a concerted effort to find a way to do this that’s sustainable and accessible as we begin to wind down our work with Charlie.
Yes, we do plan to wind down in the near future — we’ve begun discussing as a pod how that might work, what we need to do in order to fulfill our obligations to the survivors that we’ve worked with as well as our commitment to Charlie’s own accountability. We do not, and have never intended, that our process will end in any kind of sign-off that Charlie is “rehabilitated”; that’s not only outside of the scope of our original purpose, but also, we know that even after deep learning and growth occurs, we are still all capable of harm. What we want to do is build awareness and resilience, and offer Charlie the tools to change, grow, and reduce his likelihood of harming others, especially in ways he’s done repeatedly.
So what can you expect from us? In the short term, each of our pod members will offer some personal thoughts on their reasons for doing this work, what they have experienced, and what they see happening moving forward. We commit to doing these on a weekly basis, to increase the frequency of our communication. We’re also actively exploring ways to bring more updates on the process to the public via our Medium account, in order to meet the requests of some survivors and community members.
As always, the pod is open to feedback and questions; you can reach the pod members at firstname.lastname@example.org (these emails are not shared with Charlie or any other individuals without the express permission of the sender).
(Edit below added on 6/7/2021, in response to a question about who wrote this update)
That’s an important question and request for transparency. Thank you. This post was outlined by Sarah, Rachel, and Bee and then drafted by Sarah. It was then sent to Xiomara and Aida for suggestions and edits before getting posted. So, this statement was created and posted without any comment or feedback from Charlie. While Sarah is the person who manages the Medium site, the pod generally rotates the responsibility of drafting update posts; one or two people work on the draft, then the other pod members and Aida offer feedback and edits. Occasionally, we’ll share posts with Charlie when we are interested in his feedback, but that’s not the case for all posts. This Medium site is completely managed and run by the pod. And nothing — even documents drafted by Charlie — gets posted here without consent and concord from the entire pod.