Transforming Harm: Experiments in Accountability

Mariame Kaba, Stas Schmiedt, and Lea Roth
Oct 25, 2019 | 4:00pm
Online Event

What do we mean when we talk about transformative justice and accountability? What does a survivor-centered response look like in practice? How can we support those who have caused harm without defaulting to punishment? What does real accountability look like? What has worked, and what obstacles have organizers and community members faced in building this difficult and necessary practice? On October 25, Mariame Kaba will be joined by Nastassja “Stas” Schmiedt and A. Lea Roth, anti-violence and transformative justice organizers, for an online discussion of these critical questions and more.

Below are videos in which Stas and Lea, along with other experienced facilitators and organizers, reflect on key questions at the heart of experiments in addressing harm. Please watch these videos as a starting point for our conversation on October 25.

Join the conversation! We invite you to watch the videos below and then submit your questions whether you’re a seasoned abolitionist organizer or just beginning your journey into anti-violence frameworks. BCRW staff will review and curate questions for discussion. No identifying information will be shared. Submit your questions here.

More information on how to tune in will be provided. The conversation will take place from 4-5:30 EST.


Events are free and open to the public. RSVP is preferred but not required. 

Video #1: What are Obstacles to Accountability?

Accountability is, as Connie Burk of the Northwest Network explains it, “an internal resource for recognizing and redressing the harms we have caused to ourselves and others.” It is a practice rather than an end. It is a continuous process rather than just an individual act. In this video, people with years of experience facilitating transformative, restorative, and community accountability processes between survivors of harm and people who have done harm talk frankly about what gets in the way of accountability.

Video #2: How to Support Harm Doers in Being Accountable

Transformative justice practitioners understand that taking accountability is an active process. It involves harm doers choosing to be responsible for their behavior and actions. Therefore, how can we support people who cause harm in taking accountability for their actions? In this video, people with years of experience facilitating processes between survivors of harm and people who have caused harmed talk about what it really takes for people to embrace accountability.

Video #3: Consent is Accountability

When dealing with harm in our communities, we sometimes ask ourselves, what could we have done earlier to prevent this harm? What can we do to build consensual communities to avoid this kind of harm? In this video, consent educators discuss why they see consent as transformative justice and how we can use consent to learn concrete tools to negotiate power dynamics.

Video #4: How Shame Can Block Accountability

How does shame block accountability? Why do we tend towards performative apology when we work from a basis of shame? In this video, people with years of experience facilitating processes between survivors of harm and people who have done harm talk about how coming from a framework of shame can shut us down and get in the way of authentic accountability. 

About the Speakers 

Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator and curator who is active in movements for racial, gender, and transformative justice. She has founded or co-founded and directed numerous organizations and projects, including Project NIA, We Charge Genocide, the Chicago Freedom School, the Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls and Young Women, Love and Protect, and Survived and Punished.

Nastassja “Stas” Schmiedt (they/them) is a nonbinary BlaQ-Italian storyteller, abolitionist organizer, healer, and imaginatrix rooted in Denver, CO and Miami, FL.

A. Lea Roth (they/them or he/him) works to prevent and respond to gender based violence as a consent educator, transformative justice practitioner, herbalist, and fiction writer based in Denver, CO.

Stas and Lea have been organizing together and in love since their student days at Dartmouth College. Together, they keep circles and hold spaces for healing, accountability and transformation for survivors and perpetuators of harm as well as communities. They developed their practice in response to the needs and experiences of queer and trans survivors of sexual and gender based violence on campuses. You can support their work and join their learning community at

In 2013, Stas and Lea co-founded Spring Up, a social enterprise cultivating a culture of consent and liberty for all through storytelling, transformative justice, and popular education ( Spring Up offers consent education to youth and care providers, and provides support to mission-driven organizations in: values alignment, practicing consent culture, conflict transformation; and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through participatory, emergent workshops, coaching, and consulting.