Welcoming people of color to WisCon is a central value of the entire WisCon convention committee, and has been so for over a decade.
We are aware that our efforts in this area have been incomplete and sometimes unsuccessful and we are committed to doing better.
To that end, we continue to welcome suggestions for how to improve. The more constructive and specific those suggestions are, the more likely it is that the all-volunteer WisCon committee will be able to implement them. WisCon’s history shows that change happens best when spearheaded by a champion or a group of champions who bring additional energy along with their ideas. However, we care enough about this issue that many current committee members are ready to commit additional time and energy to improving our track record.
To that end, we are proud that WisCon 33 will host the first Cultural Appropriation 101 class that we’re aware of in the science fiction world, as suggested and created by the Carl Brandon Society. The class will take place on Friday afternoon and (again at the request of the Carl Brandon Society) will be clearly delineated as “highly recommended” for anyone who wishes to attend any programming on these topics. In addition, moderators of panels related to this topic will be provided with class materials well before the convention.
We are currently about 2 months away from the convention. We’re looking for additional ideas that we can implement in that time frame, as well as ideas for WisCons to come. Because WisCon is a physical space with many tendrils extending into the virtual world, one of the things we can best provide is space for face-to-face networking and problem-solving. To that end, we’re planning to set aside a room during the convention for discussion of moving-forward strategies and potential improvements. We will work closely with people of color to ensure that this does not become a space in which the offenses recycle.
We’ve extended our guest of honor nomination process for an additional 3 weeks specifically to encourage nominations of potential GoHs of color. To nominate a GoH for next year, send an e-mail to email@example.com by Sunday, March 22 describing why you think they would be a good guests of honor.
One WisCon member, Kate Nepveu, is organizing scholarships to bring people of color to WisCon: more info on this at her LJ community, Fight Derailing .
These issues are not just important for people of color; they are important for all of us. The more we can do to improve in this area, the better WisCon will be. We ask for your help and guidance in achieving this goal: contact firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas.