OUT MetroWest acknowledges a long history of violence and oppression against LGBTQ+ people—and Black, Indigenous, People of color [BIPOC], both those who are LGBTQ+ and those who are not—perpetrated by law enforcement agencies as institutions and their representatives as individuals.
This policy guides our organization toward decisions that embody our organizational values; protect the youth we serve, as well as our staff and volunteers; and utilizes our role in the community to make change in a way that matches our capacity, expertise, and mission. This policy recognizes that many in our community do not feel safe in the presence of law enforcement and that the change that is required to correct the course of history of oppression perpetrated by institutions of law enforcement is much bigger than our organization.
In keeping with our values, in particular the one which states that we will challenge systems of oppression:
- Armed, uniformed law enforcement officers will not be present at our facilities or events, unless as a last resort or in a true emergency, and as otherwise required by law or permitting regulation. The Program Manager will maintain a separate policy that guides program staff in steps to take prior to calling law enforcement as a “last resort.”
- OUT MetroWest will not conduct trainings on LGBTQ+ issues/competency with law enforcement representatives present, attending in their law enforcement capacity.
- OUT MetroWest will participate in community-wide initiatives or events that address historic and current systemic oppression. OUT MetroWest will not participate in those initiatives or events that center the perspective or voice of law enforcement. The Director of Communications and Outreach (DCO) will make decisions about community engagements guided by this policy. If a request does not lend itself to a clear decision, the DCO will bring the request to staff meeting for discussion.
- Staff who are not comfortable attending any event in which OUT MetroWest is participating where law enforcement will be present may opt out without question or consequence.
- We know we cannot predict the nature of every event/situation. When we find ourselves in a circumstance that falls short of the intent of this policy, we will use that experience to learn and make future recommendations and actions.