Last Updated August 1, 2023

NBkMA Code of Conduct


North Brooklyn Mutual Aid (NBkMA) is an all-volunteer collective that began in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s our working handbook with key roles, definitions, and our current organizing practices created in collaboration by NBkMA’s admin team. Our goal is to care for our neighbors in solidarity, all in pursuit of addressing intersecting injustices—economic, racial, social, and environmental. Within our growing network, we prioritize accountability for all of our neighbors.

The following Code of Conduct is meant to support our work and protect volunteers and neighbors alike. We define volunteers as any neighbor working with NBkMA on a one-off or ongoing basis. We are here to support and uplift our community as a collective and will not tolerate abuse of any kind, as described below.

This is a living document that will evolve to meet the needs of those requesting support within the NBkMA community, which may not already be covered in the current Code of Conduct. This document is not legal advice; rather, it describes how we work together to keep each other safe.

Core Values

As a collective, we aim to organize according to the following principles:

  • We organize alongside our neighbors in solidarity and mutuality (not charity)
NBkMA is an all-volunteer collective of neighbors, not a government agency or charitable nonprofit. We believe in collective care—simply put, the idea of taking what you need, and giving what you can—and working toward a more equitable neighborhood and future, together.
  • We hold ourselves accountable to one another
We ask that coordinators and volunteers treat one another and their neighbors with respect and kindness and follow the volunteer expectations below. If you feel like NBkMA could better support you and/or your neighbors, we welcome all feedback and constructive criticism. Ways to get in touch can be found on our website here.
  • We acknowledge that NBkMA is a work-in-progress
NBkMA formed in March 2020—its organizers include a group of volunteer admin, coordinators, hundreds of volunteers, and partners with long histories of work throughout the neighborhood around food and housing access, public spaces, climate crises, and more. We try to organize transparently, and we often mess up. Thank you for your patience and work alongside us.

Community Expectations

By participating in NBkMA events and initiatives, you agree to the following norms:

  • Respect each other
NBkMA volunteers are expected to be respectful of each other and our neighbors at all times.
  • Abuse is not tolerated
Abuse can take a lot of different forms. Our definition includes disrespect, harassment, and other forms of violence—verbal, emotional, or physical.
  • All engagement is voluntary
Neighbors are not required to volunteer or accept support.


Mutual aid is a community exercise in resilience, harm reduction, and local support. While we aim to be non-hierarchical and non-punitive, we are a collection of humans, and mistakes happen. Similarly, we are vulnerable to harm, misunderstandings, breaking of trust, and abuses of power. We aspire to handle these situations in the spirit of restorative justice, minimizing additional harm while pursuing remediation of wrongs in solidarity with those involved.

We acknowledge that there are many forms of conflict that can arise when working with others, including but not limited to disagreement, harassment, or abuse. Every situation is different, and will require different solutions. Ideally, disagreements are resolved through direct feedback. If you feel unsafe communicating directly, ask for support from the project coordinator with whom you are working with. If you need to escalate the issue further, NBkMA admin have established a volunteer ombudsperson role to help with conflict resolution.

This ombudsperson is impartial, handles sensitive matters with care, and keeps information private, prioritizing the wishes of the individual to the extent reasonably possible. They will effectively follow through both with the community member and the admin team to coordinate next steps, which may include structural changes or suspensions from organizing/volunteering on a temporary or definite basis. We can support each other by listening, asking questions, and establishing dialogue in shared spaces. If intervention is requested, we will seek first to learn as much as we can about the situation, to de-escalate ongoing conflict, and to minimize future harm by recommending adjustments if necessary. As in all things, we do not operate from a place of authority, but from a place of empathy and towards community empowerment.

If your situation requires mediation, email the ombudsperson at This function will be a rotating role held by 1-2 individuals at a time, and information about this role is included on our website and in our handbook.

We also have a curated resource list that offers anonymous guidance for most situations.


a community group of
neighbors helping neighbors

Have a question? Shoot us an email︎