The board of SF3, WisCon’s parent organization, has posted the following statement on their blog. Please visit that post to comment.
WisCon’s parent organization, SF3, has been thinking deeply about the recurring racism and white supremacy culture within the convention and within our committees (the Convention Committee aka “ConCom”, the Communications Committee, and the Personnel Committee). The presence of racism and of white supremacist culture, which impacts and injures people with any marginalized identities, are parts of our culture that we must address.
SF3 rejects white supremacy, racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and ableism. The SF3 Board expects the same of our membership and has no tolerance for racist acts or statements.
We recognize that racism has led to conflicts at WisCon every year. This is unsustainable and wrong, and these are not isolated or unrelated instances — they are part of structural and historical problems. We also recognize that it is the SF3 Board’s responsibility to solve this problem, and the solution is not and cannot be asking BIPOC members of the community to fix the organization.
Further, we want to acknowledge that over the history of WisCon, many BIPOC community members have volunteered in good faith for the ConCom, the SF3 Board, and other projects. Those volunteering situations were hostile, and this organization failed to keep those volunteers safe or to enable their success. Those situations were also not isolated incidents, and are part of a larger pattern and organizational culture.
It is the SF3 Board’s obligation, in engagement with the WisCon community and all current and past volunteers, to address and fix systemic racism and other problems within our organization and its spaces. Being a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable organization cannot be achieved without honesty with ourselves and with others.
We recognize that white supremacy is baked into the social and cultural landscape of the US. Members of SF3/WisCon must recognize and work to counter this; it is work that white people in particular must undertake in order to live up to WisCon’s values and purpose.
The SF3 Board, within their purview over nonprofit governance, is reexamining our organizational mission with the intent to eliminate white supremacy, and will be working to revise organizational bylaws and foundational documents to restructure a racist power system and ensure BIPOC empowerment. The Board has created interim versions of a mission statement, organizational vision, and a clear statement of our community values which center inclusivity and explicitly reject racism and white supremacy. These documents are intended for use over the next year, and will be shared in this space later this week.
Following that step, we will be undertaking a strategic planning process specifically focused on inclusion — in particular, on eliminating racism and empowering BIPOC members. We will be inviting everyone in our community to take part in strategic planning, which will create a permanent new mission, vision, and values for our organization and all of our projects, including WisCon.
We recognize that this is not a goal we can reach in a single year. Our strategic planning process will involve mapping out our goals for the next five years, along with broadly stated tasks for achieving those goals. We ask the full community to hold the SF3 Board accountable in this work.
We commit to sharing a monthly update on our progress, our goals, and what we have learned.
Within the next 30 days, we will be proceeding according to this schedule:
September 30, 2021: Share interim Mission, Vision, and Values
Early October (no later than October 14): Send out meeting agenda and information packet in advance of SF3 Annual Member Meeting.
October 11, 2021: Share overview and initial steps of strategic planning process and invite volunteers to join a committee established to carry out that process. The strategic planning process will include a plan for soliciting input, experiences, and feedback from BIPOC members of our community in particular. There will be a clear process for this; in order to treat feedback seriously and with care, we will not solicit that information before a system is created by the strategic planning committee, equipped with the resources they need to succeed.
October 18, 2021: Blog post outlining plans for the next month of work on these goals, with dates. This post will also include reports of the work accomplished so far.
October 24, 2021: SF3 Annual Member Meeting (details forthcoming)