PDA’s Code of Conduct for Meetings, Events, and Activities

Jan 10, 2021

By Alan Minsky, Executive Director – Progressive Democrats of America


The Progressives for  Democracy in America (PDA) is committed to creating a harassment-free environment for everyone. We do not tolerate harassment of our community in any form. We declare ourselves to be anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-ageist, and anti-exploitation. This Code of Conduct outlines our expectations for all those who participate in our organization, as well as the consequences for unacceptable behavior. We invite everyone to help create a safe and positive community for everyone.

Positive Community Behavior

  • Participate in an authentic and active way. 
  • Exercise consideration and respect in your speech and actions.
  • Attempt collaboration and understanding before criticism and conflict.
  • Refrain from demeaning, discriminatory, or harassing behavior and speech.
  • Please avoid making assumptions. If you aren’t aware of what someone’s gender is, and you can’t figure out what pronoun to use, just ask or look to see where you may find their name and preferred pronoun.
  • Please ask before touching anyone at our events. It’s easy, and the worst thing that happens is someone says no! That includes hugging – you might not know that it makes some people uncomfortable, but it does, so please ask first.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings and the other participants. Alert community leaders if you notice a dangerous situation, someone in distress, or violations of this Code of Conduct, even if they seem subtle or inconsequential.

Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behaviors include: intimidating, harassing, abusive, discriminatory, intentional mis-gendering, derogatory or demeaning speech or actions by any participant in the PDA community online, at PDA meetings and events, and in one-on-one communications carried out in the context of PDA business. Since PDA event venues may be shared with members of the public; please be respectful to all patrons of these locations.

Harassment includes:

  • harmful or prejudicial verbal or written comments, in particular those  related to race, gender, sexual orientation, trans identity, physical appearance, nationality, language, accent, immigration status, body size, ability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, religion (or lack thereof) and other personal conditions and choices
  • trolling, i.e. sustained disruption of conversations, talks or other events
  • non-consensual photography, recording or sharing of images and recordings
  • inappropriate use of sexual images and/or nudityin public spaces (including presentation slides)
  • deliberate intimidation, stalking or following
  • non-consensual physical contact
  • unwelcome sexual attention
  • micro-aggressions, i.e. small, subtle, often subconscious actions that marginalize people from oppressed groups
  • minimizing or denying other people’s experiences

Representing PDA

The reputation of our organization is based on accurate representation of our progressive community values. Unacceptable representation includes: * claiming to speak on behalf or represent that the organization without the organization’s approval * reporting on closed meetings or reporting without consent


Ask everybody in the picture if they agree to be photographed or filmed.

For group shots, ask if anyone wants to opt-out before taking any, or ask people if they need their face obscured after taking photos.

What happens in case of violations of our Code of Conduct?

Members and guests asked to stop any hateful or disrespectful behavior are expected to comply immediately. If a person insists in such behavior, the administrators may take any action they deem appropriate, including warning or removing them from the event, communication channel, etc.

If you are being treated disrespectfully or harassed, notice that someone else is being treated disrespectfully or harassed, or have any other concerns, please point out the problem to the administrator or any member you feel comfortable talking to as soon as possible.

Violations of the PDA Code of Conduct can result in disciplinary actions upto and including expulsion from the organization. Decisions about disciplinary action should be initiated and led by local chapters in consultation with State coordinators and the PDA national staff.

Addressing Grievances

If you feel you have been falsely or unfairly accused of violating this Code of Conduct, you should notify your State or regional PDA coordinator, or the national staff, and provide a concise description of your grievance. Your grievance will be handled in accordance with our existing governing policies.


This code of conduct applies to all PDA meetings, events, online activities, including mailing lists, Twitter and social media, as well as public discussion forums.. Anyone who violates this code of conduct may be sanctioned or expelled from these spaces at the discretion of the moderation team.

Why a code of conduct

We would prefer to live in a society where we do not need Codes of Conduct. However, Codes of Conduct are essential to establish spaces that are different from – and more inclusive than – general society. If you don’t set up your own rules, you implicitly endorse those prevalent in society – including the unwritten ones – many of which we recognize as unfair to many people. When privileges are not explicitly addressed by the ethos of a space, the burden of education will often be placed upon the people who are living the oppressions. Moreover, since we still perform – consciously or unconsciously – behaviors that have oppressive potential (i.e. patriarchal, racist, sexist, ageist, (neo)colonialist, etc.), it is essential to reflect on our privileges and on the ways in which they have an impact on our lives and the lives of others.

A code of conduct can help to bring awareness, understanding, consciousness, reflexivity, and safety; and help facilitate the important work we are doing together.