ASK: A PROJECT ABOUT CONSENT
ASK: EDITOR'S LETTER
To whom it may concern,
We believe a little question goes a long way, and to be frank – we have a long way to go.
As skaters, it goes without saying: we cherish our community. We help each other up when we fall, we celebrate finally landing that trick and it’s in our nature to give advice and help each other succeed. Why should these things only be true when we have a board in one hand? What do we do with the other? We are skaters – yes, but we are human first. And so, can we as humans truly say we’ve got it all figured out if we still can’t keep each other safe? If we love our community, are we really doing enough to protect one another?
We are lucky enough to have fallen in love with a hobby that keeps us in touch with our bodies, even luckier to have the animosity to do with it what we like. Wanna throw your limbs down a stair set? Why not! Wanna decorate your body in bruises while you learn something new? Absolutely. But when it comes to how we treat and respect other people or bodies that don’t belong to us, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
When was the last time you asked for consent? Asked for someone’s pronouns? Asked someone if they needed advice before we gave it? Asked someone for help to understand something better? Asked a friend to change their behaviour and stop causing discomfort?
Skaters know that all we can do is try. We believe in First Tries, and seconds and thirds. So, try to be a little bit better every day, and when things don’t go quite right – yep, you guessed it! Try and try again until you do. We invite people to our parks because we have something we love that is worth sharing, so let’s make sure it’s something good. Let’s look out for one another and make asking our attitude, setting an example for each other and the generation of skaters after us.
If we really stand for true freedom, we should care about consent. If we really care about each other’s safety, we should care about consent. We shouldn’t wait until it’s too late, to care about consent. So, care because we are in this together, and because you want others to be treated with the same dignity and love that you expect to receive too.
Don’t show up for this cause because you want to help us, or protect us. Show up because you respect us. Show up for yourself. Show up for your community. Show up because this oppression is a repeated symptom of a sickness that has gone untreated for far too long. Ignoring it will mean it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t end and we cannot heal. If we are complacent, it will eventually touch us or someone we love. Look inwards and see that until we are all safe, no one really is. It’s us that has the power to shape and create our surrounding environment; you and me are not separate beings. We each have a responsibility to ourselves and for each other.
Things cannot change until we all collectively hold ourselves accountable for our behaviour and our ability to grow. Stay open to listening and make being there for each other a priority. This is the start of an on-going conversation with ourselves and the people around us. This isn’t a lecture, it’s not an attack – nor is it an ending. This is just the beginning.
It all starts within, so will you take the first step?
Doyenne, Consent for Breakfast, Consent is Rad and Hera Skate recognise that we aren’t licensed therapists or experts in this area, but we do recognise our place in the skate scene. We understand that we don’t have the answers, but we joined forces to ask more questions together. We see that we need to use our platforms to ignite positive change and do what we can to overcome this shared, collective experience. Consent is important to us, and we put this zine together because we really do care – about you and the way we want to see our community flourish. We hope that after reading this, you feel empowered to join us in our fight for safer spaces for everyone.