aequa is an intersectional community united by our dreams of a world in which everyone can thrive. With diverse experiences and perspectives, we are brought together by our desire to learn, to share, to support and show up for each other. Together, we put our dreams into practice and strive to create something better for all of us.
As aequa moves towards an ever more horizontal structure, driven by our emerging assembly and working-groups, aequa can no longer be described in terms of ‘us and them’, of ‘organisers and community’. We are an ecosystem created from the individuals and relationships within our networks and we are much more than the sum of our parts.
If aequa’s little world has something to offer you, we’d love for you to join us.
What do we do?
We exist to build and support movements and spaces – physical ones like aequa Community Centre in Berlin, as well as digital gathering spaces – that work to meet people’s material and emotional needs. In the last year since opening the community centre amidst a global pandemic and moving most of our gathering online, aequa has grown and deepened as more and more people have connected to a desire to participate in their community, to get – and give – support.
Mutual support and solidarity are at the heart of what we do. Everything from events for writing letters to trans prisoners, to migrant solidarity projects like Close the Camps, to helping people create care pods to get through an isolating pandemic winter.
We know from our lived experiences that mutual support and solidarity are not abstract concepts. They are the ways that marginalised communities survive not only crises, but also every day — whether it’s a new friend bringing home-baked cookies after a tough afternoon, or a whole community of people coming together to keep our space open through crowd-funded donations, we’re proud for aequa to be a part of these beautiful, radical traditions of transformation.
Who are we?
We are people who have stories to share, and we are learners seeking new perspectives. We are people who show up for others because we know that we are more than individuals, especially in a world that teaches us scarcity and that we must compete in order to survive. We are people who reject the myths we’ve been taught that some people are disposable, that success comes only from hard work, and that those who fall through the cracks didn’t try hard enough.
We reject the lie that ‘there is no alternative’ by striving to create that better world we dream of every day.
Many of us have ourselves experienced poverty and precarity that had nothing to do with how ‘good’ or ‘hard-working’ we are. Some of us know what it is to go to a transphobic medical appointment alone, some of us know what it is to suffer racist violence on public transport or struggle to make rent each month. Many of us have been abandoned when we most needed help, even by our own so-called communities. And as a network that includes many marginalised people, we know something about the reality of systemic oppression.
We have also experienced the beauty and joy of seeing people come together to support each other through crisis. We’ve looked around the room at the end of an exhausting day and seen someone preparing a banner for a demonstration against racism, someone else processing donated books for the equity library and someone else is in the bathroom unblocking the toilets. And we know, in our bones, that this is what change can look like. It isn’t always glamorous, but it’s very real.
We have seen the transformation – individual, collective, emotional and political – that comes from working together in solidarity. We have felt the connection, security and dignity that comes from growing something new.
As aequa adapts to new crises and opens to new opportunities, we’re constantly evolving our structures to best meet our collective needs — aequa is very much a project in emergence, and always will be.
Founded in 2018, in the early years our core organisers and many collaborators organised a range of equity-focused initiatives and gatherings in venues across Berlin.
In 2020, our work centred on one space – our community centre in Wedding, which opened in March – and we expanded online (and internationally) to keep our community safe and our spaces accessible during the Covid-19 pandemic. We know of course that safety and accessibility are always a process, and that work is never complete.
We continue to have a core organising team of two people (one non-binary, one trans femme) with working-class and other marginalised experiences that co-ordinate a lot of the network. To account for some of the experiences and knowledge that the core team are missing (for example, both core team members are white and mostly able-bodied), aequa has an Advisory Team that helps guide community organising and decision-making.
In the last months, aequa has grown several working-groups, focused on fundraising, outreach and inreach (community) communications, as well as groups that run the online shop, equity library and community centre. We are moving steadily towards a community assembly structure in which the people who are most affected by decisions are an integral part of making them. As aequa grows, deepens and becomes more sustainable, the work we can do becomes more sustainable too.
In 2020, despite severe financial crisis and going in and out of lockdown, we pulled together over 50 gatherings with practically no resources at all. If nothing else, this figure is a testament to the resourcefulness and commitment of our beautiful community.
Together, we work towards a more equitable world by focusing on three main areas:
- Mutual support — supporting each other to meet our needs and to thrive. Empowering each other by sharing skills, knowledge and resources that help us become more effective participants in the movements that move us.
Examples: Peer support groups. Care pods. Slack space. Action Teams. Life Architecture. Queer im Kiez.
- Solidarity — working together to shift power away from systems of oppression through actions that centre the needs and demands of the most impacted and most marginalised. We show up for each other in a thousand ways, every single day.
Examples: Beyond Visibility. Close the Camps. Berlin Collective Action.
- Social equity – ‘To each their needs, and nothing less.’ Part of how we’re managing to stay afloat during these stormy times is through the aequa Workshops Collective, facilitating interactive, conversation-based trainings on practical social equity to individuals, organisations and companies. We also run learning spaces within aequa networks week to week, month to month.
To give you an idea of our work here are some of the ongoing aequa initiatives over the last years:
A busy slack space for exchanging information, resources and material items; different peer support groups for e.g., designers, writers, freelancers or neurodivergent folks; critical masculinity reading group; community breathwork sessions; Plant Swap; Queer im Kiez; Action Teams; Life Architecture; Local Makers Market; equity reading group; equity film circle and more.
We also offered physical and digital space and (where helpful) mentorship for sibling initiatives like:
- Career Gxrls, (a sex-worker mutual support series),
- Bread & Salt (self-organised food adn music gathering for queer Arab refugees)
- Close The Camps (a migrant justice action group founded by aequa community members),
- BIWOC Rising (an independent coworking project for women and non-binary people of color),
- Berlin Collective Action (a wealth redistribution mutual aid project that supports nightlife workers impacted by the Covid crisis), among others.
The best way to learn about aequa is to experience gathering with us in person. Check out our events page.
A word on safer spaces
So many of us have had difficult experiences with community spaces and we know – really, we know – that trust is earned, and that no space is completely safe.
That said, we are committed to the constant listening, dialogue and learning that is necessary to continue to make our shared spaces as safe as possible for as many different kinds of people as possible. To that end, we encourage our community to remember and adopt these Equity Mindsets in each space we open:
- We are all on a learning journey.
- We give space to learn and grow. We normalise the possibility for transformation.
- We listen to learn. We share our perspectives while understanding there are many.
- We aim to fight systems of oppression, not each other.
- We care for ourselves and each other on the way.
For more info, you can also read our Mutual Respect policy.