BiCon Anti-Racism Review 2020

BiCon Anti-Racism Review 2020. (UK bi gathering.) What's happened so far? What should we do next?

On this page: (these are within-page links)
Invitation/hello
Booking for the review meeting, 22 Nov 2020
Access
Gathering input, till 14 Nov 2020
Backstory
How can people of colour get in touch to give feedback?
How can white people get in touch to give feedback? (PoC also welcome)

Invitation/hello

At the decision-making meeting at BiCon 2020, it was agreed we'd have a meeting specifically to review BiCon's anti-racism work over the last year. We would like to hear your feedback about that.

We are open to input about things from longer ago, as well, and ideas for the future.

Please give us your thoughts!

Jennifer, Asha and Titi
(organising the review)

Booking for the review meeting, 22 Nov 2020

This meeting will be at 2.30pm, Sunday 22 November 2020, on Zoom.

The schedule will be circulated nearer the time, but we shall aim to finish by 4pm, including a break in the middle.

If you'd like to come to the meeting, please book.

Free tickets are available via Eventbrite: Click here for the Eventbrite link

Access for the meeting

We're not currently planning to have live captioning (only because it's very expensive). Apologies to people who would've benefited from that.

Update: Captioning is now booked! Big thanks to Rowan and the Equality Network!

Before the meeting, there will be a write-up of what we heard from people. After the meeting, there will be a write-up of the meeting itself. Those will be available on ordinary web pages on this site.

If there's something else we could do to make this process more accessible to you, please email jennifer at uncharted-worlds.org.

Gathering input, till 14 Nov 2020

Over the next couple of weeks, we're inviting people to give us feedback and advice – if you want to.

Input can come via

  • online chat or discussion
  • email
  • web page input form, can be anonymous (with optional questions to bounce off)

depending on what works best for you.

You might want to tell us about

  • experiences of racism you've felt or witnessed at BiCon
  • barriers you've experienced or noticed due to racism or discrimination
  • ways of making BiCon actively anti-racist, or that improve experiences of queer people of colour
  • what's most important for BiCon to work towards regarding race*
  • what you thought of recent initiatives**
  • what's the top priorities to do next, in the coming year
  • what this upcoming meeting should focus on most
  • things to bear in mind when we organise the meeting.

* see backstory section for things we already know!

** see backstory section for what's been happening recently.

This invitation for input will be open from now until the end of Saturday 14 November. Then we'll talk over what we've heard, and decide what's most important to include in the review meeting.

Backstory

Some things which have happened since BiCon 2019:

  • anti-racism training sessions at & after BiCon 2020
  • new follow-up groups from those (launch meeting 3 Nov 2020, more details to come)
  • new "White Affinity Group" from summer 2020, for white people to talk together about racism & anti-racism
  • BiCon's official "anti-racism working group" from 2019, which developed two grant applications (although didn't get the grants in the end)
  • acknowledgement that "BiCon is Racist – And It’s About Time We Stop Making Excuses" (link)

We have taken note of past work by Bi's of Colour flagging up things that are needed, and the vote at BiCon 2019 which agreed. That's things like

  • consistently having spaces at BiCon for people of colour, run by people of colour
  • improvements to the Code of Conduct and how it's implemented
  • white people taking responsibility for their own learning
  • anti-oppression training
  • understanding cultural appropriation, and not doing it
  • better outreach to communities of colour, especially in areas where a BiCon event happens
  • better representation of religions at BiCon, beyond Christianity or Judaism
  • people of colour being paid to help BiCon work on these things.

So please don't feel you have to go over those same points again – though if you want to agree with that list or add to it, that's also welcome.

For people who'd like more background, here are three important posts from the "Bi's of Colour" blog: (links)
"People of Colour at BiCon: Are we really welcome there?" [September 2017], inc a list of specific things that need fixing.
"BiCon lets down People Of Colour. Again…" [June 2020], inc the overall picture of white people "listening" but not doing anything.
"BiCon lets us down again. Part 2" [June 2020], reporting having received threats after the previous post.

And here are a few things from BiCon & organisers: (links)
The "motion" voted in at BiCon 2019, which led to this review. See heading number 4.
"BiCon is Racist – And It’s About Time We Stop Making Excuses" [2020]
"Systemic Racism at Bicon – an apology from Kate" [2020], for one of the incidents named by Bi's of Colour.

How can people of colour get in touch to give feedback?

Titilayo Farukuoye is an activist, organiser and writer based in Scotland. Titi is particularly concerned with race, identity, liberation struggles and the climate. Organising with The Anti-Racist Educator and other black and PoC led organisations, they strive to foster a culture of anti-racism and meaningful, productive change to dismantle white supremacy and build a world that centres black, trans, queer and disabled experiences.

Titi is one of the people who's been running training sessions for BiCon this year. We are paying them to be a "trusted listener" for people of colour to talk with during the review, and to help us get this review process right.

Update: We now have a possibility of giving money to bi people of colour to acknowledge the time and energy it would take to contribute to this. Thanks to Shiri for pointing out we ought to have built this in. Exact details of how it would work are yet to be finalised, via discussion with Bis of Colour (the organisation). This money will go to/via Bis of Colour, who will then speak personally to recipients.

Email address: titi2020bicon at uncharted-worlds.org

Any person of colour is welcome to email Titi, and either

  • just say things in email
  • fix a time to chat
  • book to come to a "focus group", PoC only.

PoC-only discussion spaces, hosted by Titilayo:

  • Sunday 8 November, 6pm till 7pm
  • Monday 9 November, 5pm till 6pm
  • Tuesday 10 November, 12 noon till 1pm

"This is a safe space and conversation for any past or current BiCon participant of colour to voice your experiences and thoughts regarding race and discrimination at BiCon, and/or practical steps for making it better."

Please say which date you would prefer, or more than one if you don't mind which.

Or you can give input anonymously. Click here for the anonymous input form for PoC.

Asha is a long-standing contributor to Bi's of Colour, and recently took up a role as a Trustee of BiCon Continuity, the charity which looks after BiCon's money. She is happy to chat with any person of colour – especially people she already knows from Bi's of Colour.

Email address: asha2020bicon at uncharted-worlds.org

Reminder, this input process will close at the end of Saturday 14 November.

How can white people get in touch to give feedback? (PoC also welcome)

Jennifer is a (white) BiCon veteran, who was a "regular" around 1995-2005, and on the organising team of 2005. She is interested in how BiCon works & how it could be better.

Jennifer will be gathering ideas primarily from white people, so that Titi and Asha's time can be for listening to the people of colour – though PoC are also 100% welcome to get in touch with her.

Email address: jennifer at uncharted-worlds.org

Anyone is welcome to email Jennifer, and either

  • just say things in email, or
  • fix a time to chat, either on the phone or via Zoom.

At the moment, we're not planning a focus group for white people, but please say if that's something you would like.

Or you can give input anonymously. Click here for the anonymous input form for white people.

(The reason for having 2 different input forms is that we're suggesting different questions to white people & to PoC. Both forms give space for whatever you want to say, though.)

Reminder, this input process will close at the end of Saturday 14 November.

Jennifer is also the first point of call for any practical questions about the meeting or the review, e.g. about access, or ways it could be better, or why we've set things up as we have.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to hear from some of you soon!