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Our values: a deeper dive

As we describe on Our Core Values page, we have 3 core values that are the artistic expression of Community, Justice, and Care.  However we hold ourselves to many values as we engage in this collaborative work.  For each value listed below, we provide definitions to educate visitors to our website, and we provide a statement below each definition to describe how we interact with each value. 

ACCESS - A way of facilitating interactions that is based on a deep understanding of needs, abilities, constraints, and methods of communicating. 

The work we are doing has the potential to change lives. It is vital that the work we do be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible by using tools like digital meeting platforms with auto-captions, using alt-text on any images we share on our website or social media, and having a UserWay access tool to help folks navigate our website. As we grow, we commit ourselves to making the highest standard of accessibility to our platform and programming a priority like providing ASL interpretation for all of our programming, committing to a Language Justice plan, and having live captioning or auto-captioning available for all online programming.

ANTI-FASCISM - In opposition to fascist ideologies, groups and individuals. Fascism is defined as systems or ideologies that exalts national, political, racial, or other identity above all others and promotes the subjugation or oppression of peoples who are not in line with that singular identity. 

Anti-fascism is a core part of our mission and the work we contribute to our Community. We condemn nationalism, xenophobia, hate-based violence, and all other actions and rhetoric that can be attributed to fascism. Actions that align with fascism will not be tolerated within our programming, events, or any space we work in. 

ANTI-RACISM - Anti-racism encompasses a range of ideas and political actions which are meant to counter racial prejudice, systemic racism, and the oppression of specific racial groups.

At 3 of Cups we define anti-racism as dismantling white supremacy and colonialism. It is simply not enough for us to eschew all forms of racism, but we actively stand in the face of and against it. By doing so, we commit to educating ourselves on what racism is and how it appears in our lives as individuals, in our interpersonal relationships, institutionally, and structurally. At 3 of Cups, we commit ourselves to educating our friends, relatives, Community, and future collaborators on the importance of anti-racism.

CARE (an expansive definition of our core value) -  can be defined in many ways, but for 3oC it represents the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of the individual, Community, and culture, and the serious attention, intention, and care-full consideration applied during the course of this work.

Care is not performative, at 3 of Cups, care is the direct act of removing ideological and historical roadblocks to lasting and impactful cultural change. Care helps us to understand and devise a way of working that is mindful of ourselves and our Community. That takes into consideration our desires, obstacles, and strengths to find best practices and solutions unique to our lives. Care is not the absence of work. Rejecting the definition of work inside of a capitalist narrative, our work is an intentional and radical act of rest, rebellion, and self-care in ways that break down barriers, and nurture our Community. Care helps us to understand and devise a way of working that is mindful of ourselves and our Community. 

COLLABORATION - Two or more people working together to achieve shared goals.

To collaborate is to build Community and progress together. At 3 of Cups there is no hierarchy. When we collaborate we decentralize our power to ensure that the Community's needs are always at the forefront of our work. We define success as combining our different experiences to create programming that reflects our Community’s strengths. As we grow, we commit ourselves to being steadfast in our dedication to decentralized power and Community-based collaboration. 

​COMMUNITY (an expansive definition of our core value) - A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common, or a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. 

Communities are formed through shared ideologies, histories, language, and culture. A group has a greater chance of survival than the individual. We know that because of our queer identity, as well as the multi-marginalizations that intersect with our queerness, we have often been shunned or threatened by the many mainstream systems that govern our lives. Our Community survives by banding together and creating modes of care and exchange that lie outside of those systems. As stewards of this practice, we at 3 of Cups acknowledge that our Community is the cornerstone of life. Our Community is the central focus of our organization. We will constantly seek to build relationships with and cede power to our Community so that their wants, needs, ideas, and hopes are being fulfilled.

COMMUNITY HEALTH - While there is no established definition of Community Health, it can be described as the physical, mental, and cultural wellbeing of a Community.

In our collaborations we look to care for and support the following 3 pillars of Community Health:

1) The physical wellbeing of the people in the Community.

2) The mental and emotional wellbeing of the hearts and minds of those people.

3) The cultural wellbeing of Community practices, traditions, and histories that is sustainably maintained in a way that reflects the past, is grounded in the present, and looks toward the future. 

Community health is the foundation for all that 3 of Cups does. As we grow it is our priority to promote Community health throughout our programs, services, and Community collaborations. 


DECOLONIZATION - Is cultural, psychological, and economic freedom for the global majority with the goal of reclaiming sovereignty -- the right and ability of people of the global majority to practice self-determination over their land, cultures, and political and economic systems.

We know that many of today's obstacles, injustices, and upheavals are the result of historic systems that were established and perpetuated by imperial acts of colonization. These systems are what continue to oppress and exploit the minds, bodies, and spirits of our Community and the global majority. We commit ourselves to not only work in ways to decolonize our external environment but also our internal beliefs and actions. By continually educating ourselves on how colonization has affected the geography, climate, economics, politics, philosophy, language, and general culture of our society, we decolonize our work by moving in lockstep with our Community, prioritizing marginalized peoples who continue to be affected by colonialist systems, and advocating for our communities within colonized institutional spheres while creating opportunities that live outside of those systems. Through this work, we actively push against colonized ways of operating, and seek to build an organization that is Community bound and reflective of the people we serve. 

DIRECT ACTION - Action that seeks to achieve an end directly and by the most immediately effective means.

We work to provide direct assistance to Community members, create opportunities and resources that strengthen the communities we serve, and circumvent systems that impede people’s access to the support they need to thrive. And as we grow, we commit ourselves to dedicate a portion of our operating budget to providing mutual aid. 


DIVERSITY - The practice or quality of including or involving people from a range of social, racial, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender identity, gender presentation, pregnancy, ability, age, medical condition, ancestry, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, criminal record, or status as a veteran or differently-abled veteran.​

Diversity is a reality of the field. It is not a tool to be exploited. Through diversity, we achieve our highest potential and gain access to a whole universe of possibility. We commit to assemble a team of collaborators that is just as diverse as the communities we serve. 


DYNAMIC ACCOUNTABILITY -  A systemic approach to accountability that is grounded in processes of meaningful engagement with communities. These processes are inclusive, participatory, and continuously practiced. 

At 3 of Cups, we see Dynamic Accountability as a best practice. It creates an open, two-way road of communication and leads to impactful collaboration with paradigm-shifting results. As we grow, we commit to structuring a Community advisory committee that regularly reviews our work and provides feedback on how we can work better.

EQUITY - The state, quality or ideal of being just, impartial and fair. Equity is a solution for addressing imbalanced social systems. Historically equity has often been fought against, and circumvented through various social and political manipulations such as gerrymandering or white colonialist and capitalistic language that often traps communities into various laws and systems that they do not benefit from or are even harmed by. 

In pairing with 3 of Cups’ core value of justice, we commit ourselves to utilizing equity as an integral step in building and developing our programs with collaborators, and our Community advisory board that will lead to long-term, sustainable, equitable access to our programs and services for generations to come.

GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS -  Climate change includes global warming driven by human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases, the abuses of globalization, colonization, and the exploitation of resources that belong to the global majority. This has resulted in large-scale shifts in weather patterns. It is evident that humans have had an unprecedented impact on Earth's climate system and caused change on a global scale.

We acknowledge the fact, supported by an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence, that our planet and its ecosystems have been wholly impacted by our presence and way of life. We are committed to operate in a way that is aware of the current existential climate crisis and work in a way that supports a minimized carbon footprint. We encourage collaborators to work remotely or commute using public transportation, and commit our data, file storage, and archives to be digital to reduce the unnecessary creation of waste. As we grow, we commit to utilizing more energy saving technologies and strategies, like solar panels, to further diminish our carbon footprint.


HARM REDUCTION - A range of public health policies designed to lessen the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with various human behaviors, both legal and illegal. Harm reduction policies are used to manage behaviors, such as recreational drug use and sexual activity in various settings, with services that are tailored to specific regions

We recognize that Community members will choose to engage in legal or illegal activities that may put their lives at risk. Rather than speak against those activities that would create negative relationships with the Community and dynamics of shame, we advocate for our Community on how they can engage in these activities as safely as possible. For members of our Community who are seeking help, it is our hope that this Harm Reduction advocacy will encourage them to speak out. 

INCLUSION - The practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities, resources, and spaces for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized, such as those who have physical or mental disabilities and members of other minority groups. 

To successfully collaborate with the communities we serve, it is important to 3 of Cups that we reflect the people of our Community in every facet of our work. Inclusivity, like diversity, sets us up to achieve and succeed. We commit to routinely collaborate with Community members who are oftentimes excluded, and we commit to the continual practice of opening 3 of Cups as an organization to whomever wishes to solicit collaboration with us.

JUSTICE* (an expansive definition of our core value) - Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many different viewpoints and perspectives.

At 3oC we commit ourselves and our work to create, educate on and perpetuate justice for queer and trans black, indigenous, people of color, and other marginalized members of the Houston queer art Community. Things need to change, we need to create a foundational shift that advocates for our Community’s validity and furthers respect and awareness in Houston at large. As multi-marginalized individuals, we understand all too well the violence that society perpetuates against us. We see 3 of Cups as a space that protects from and pushes against these acts of violence. We seek justice in all facets: representation, pay, time, division of work, justice is taken into account on all things we engage with. Justice is not a preference, it is the ONLY way. It course corrects us from a painful past and guides us to a safer and more loving future. 

*This justice statement was inspired by Houston Colalition Against Hate, and our active work with their organization.  For more information about HCAH and to learn how you can create your own justice statement, please click HERE

THE LGBTQIA+ COMMUNITY - A Community that includes, but is not limited to, the grouping of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning, intersex, asexual, and all other identities therein of individuals, organizations that serve the Community, active allies of the Community, and subcultures, united by a common culture and social movements. 

We at 3 of Cups are members of the LGBTQIA+ Community. We are active participants in its many histories, traditions, and legacies. This Community is a historical and ever present element of the Houston population and the world. As members of this Community, as well as collaborators, cultural workers, and artists in the field, the work we do at 3 of Cups is to benefit and serve the LGBTQIA+ Community. As we grow, it is our responsibility to actively employ and seek collaboration with fellow Community members, and to continuously expand the opportunities, programs, and services we provide.

NON-HIERARCHICAL - The rejection of hierarchies and the social and political baggage that comes with them.

At 3 of Cups, we value all collaborators and Community members equally. Ideas, decisions, and actions are all discussed and formulated as a group. We believe in work that decentralizes power structures. This way, our work lives by Community consensus. As we grow, we commit to a non-hierarchical pay structure across the organization and to continue the practice of non-hierarchical work.

SAFE SPACE - A place or environment in which a person or category of people can feel confident that they will not be exposed to discrimination, criticism, harassment, or any other emotional or physical harm.

We are committed to creating spaces that celebrate the people who inhabit them. Spaces where people are able to freely express themselves without fear of emotional, spiritual, or bodily harm from others. We realize that safe spaces are idlic, and do not often represent our realities. 

We commit ourselves to providing care and accountability to collaborators of 3 of Cups, and Community members who engage in behavior that is defined as unsafe. We commit ourselves to assisting collaborators and Community members by connecting survivors and violators alike to therapeutic, psychological, and other services requested, or deemed necessary by the Community Advisory Board if so involved. We reserve the right to remove any violators of the safe space from our Community if a mutual resolution through mediation or discussions cannot be achieved.

If it is deemed that a performance is unsafe and clearly places a Community member in immediate physical danger, we reserve the right to stop any such performance. As artists and performers ourselves, we recognize that some works are designed to be triggering and provoking, and that contemporary performance and art should always be pushing the boundaries of what can occur in public space. We encourage these explorations at 3oC, and once we grow, we will make it a priority to provide mentorship on how boundary breaking work can occur within our space that also cares for the Community it wishes to address. 

TRANSPARENCY - A set of organizational habits, policies, and operations that provide stakeholders with valuable information about the inner workings of an organization. This is to help stakeholders better understand the processes that result in final system design, from day-to-day operations to higher level decision making. This information needs to be presented in a way that is highly accessible (see above definition for ‘Accessibility’).

Our goal is the betterment of the communities we serve. This goal necessitates open and honest communication with our Community. We commit to hosting regular Community forums to inform Community members of organizational developments, decisions, processes, and answer any questions about what we do and how we do it. As we grow and operate, we commit to archival practices that document organizational decisions, processes, actions, budgets, and other information and all will be made publicly available on our website.

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