I’ve been having a lot of conversations about conventions lately, especially with the push for diversity. Some long overdue conversations, but I think one thing that gets overlooked in their invitations is their intentionality.
If it’s just about the checking of the diversity box, then you’ve done your due diligence with "diverse" invites, I guess. But if your goal is to build an intentional diverse & inclusive COMMUNITY of writers, we have to think beyond the usual scripts.
From personal experience, I know when I’ve been the “diversity” invite. It’s a well-intended thing, if I’m being generous, but it’s rarely a well-thought out one.
They want to welcome (the idea of) diverse voices to their community but overlook the reality that the way their community had been operating had locked diverse participation out in the first place.
Which means, functionally, I was invited into (hostile) spaces, to do a lot of labor, where me and my comfort were an afterthought. (Though, truth be told, I always brought my own people to hangout with. Even still, I'm over it.)
One of the things @MultiverseCon did, which I’d never experienced before, was ask what they could do to make my con experience an enjoyable one. Needless to say, it was an enjoyable con for me.
All this to say that as cons are relaunching—mid-pandemic, mid-BLM—they have an opportunity to do things different.
They can bring in consultants, partner with organizations, bring in thought leaders who have experience building truly inclusive communities. Partner with folks in an attempt to do things differently.
If you’re serious about diversity and inclusion (vs just checking the box), you need to re-think models and experiment.
Listen and learn—dare I say risk—in order to create a new baseline, tone, and direction for how things could be. And, especially as sf thought leaders, model how to do things better moving forward.

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