• LaTonya M. Baldwin

Building Communities or Building Walls?

I see so many posts about group boundaries, policing members, investigating residency and questioning if someone should belong.

Have we forgotten the principle of why we have boundaries? Have we lost sight of our mission; that boundaries aren't about keeping folks out but about building community among real people in real spaces?

It is disturbing to me how much energy is put into keeping folks out. And if you don't see your efforts as exclusionary and instead just trying to follow the Buy Nothing rules, I challenge you to revisit what this project is about and what we are genuinely trying to create in our groups.

We don't own groups or members. Boundaries exist to support not deny access to community. We exist to support a fundamental desire to support people. Let me say that again: we are about the people not constructed bubbles.

And let me purposely be blunt here. Being a volunteer admin in Buy Nothing is not about policing, power tripping and controlling folk. The founders and regional volunteers worked hard and thought hard about helping us becoming real stewards in our communities. There is a greater level of autonomy and responsibility for us so we can serve not rule.

This simultaneous trend of admin constantly asking others to tell them what to do with your community and how you govern as a group is your role and responsibility, and others obsessing about borders and invading members' privacy because you want to ensure that they should be in your group is egregious.

Step back. Remember what our true mission is. How do we create safe, nurturing, kind, supportive spaces for the people we live around? How do we give freely and accept graciously? How do we make this small space we inhabit a better place?

Be well,

LaTonya M. Baldwin

LaTonya has been an integral part of the Buy Nothing Project for many years serving as a local admin, various support groups, writing admin reminders for the Admin Hub and now as a member of the Equity Team. She is also a birth doula. Find LaTonya on Instagram at @doulamelove.

Cover photo: original artwork by LaTonya Baldwin.

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