WordCamp St. Louis Diversity Statement

Platitudes are cheap. We’ve all heard conferences and communities say they’re committed to “diversity” and “tolerance” without ever getting specific, so here’s our stance on it:

We welcome you.

We welcome people of any gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, size, nationality, sexual orientation, ability level, neurotype, religion, elder status, family structure, culture, subculture, political opinion, identity, and self-identification. We welcome activists, artists, bloggers, crafters, dilettantes, musicians, photographers, readers, writers, ordinary people, extraordinary people, and everyone in between. We welcome people who want to change the world, people who want to keep in touch with friends, people who want to make great art, and people who just need a break after work.

We welcome fans, geeks, nerds, and functions.php overloaders. (We welcome WordPress beginners who aren’t sure what any of those terms refer to.) We welcome you no matter if you’ve used WordPress since it was called b2/cafelog or if you just heard about it yesterday.

We welcome you. You may wear a baby sling, hijab, a kippah, leather, piercings, a pentacle, a political badge, a rainbow, a rosary, tattoos, or something we can only dream of. You may carry a guitar or knitting needles or a sketchbook. Conservative or liberal, libertarian or socialist — we believe it’s possible for people of all viewpoints and persuasions to come together and learn from each other. We believe in the broad spectrum of individual and collective experience and in the inherent dignity of all people. We believe that amazing things come when people from different worlds and world-views approach each other to create a conversation.

We get excited about creativity — from pro to amateur, from novels to haiku, from the photographer who’s been doing this for decades to the person who just picked up a sketchbook last week. We protect our creativity and our diversity through our Code of Conduct.

We think accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority, not an afterthought. We think neurodiversity is a feature, not a bug. We believe in being inclusive, welcoming, and supportive of anyone who comes to us with good faith and the desire to build a community.

We have enough experience to know that we won’t get any of this perfect on the first try. But we have enough hope, energy, and idealism to want to learn things we don’t know now. We may not be able to satisfy everyone, but we can certainly work to avoid harming anyone. And we promise that if we get it wrong, we’ll listen carefully and respectfully to you when you point it out to us, and we’ll do our best to make good on our mistakes.

We value empathy more than we value code quality and how well you know WordPress. Not just empathy for the users of the things we make but for everyone who contributes as well. When any of us make a mistake, we are ready and willing to take the responsibility to correct it. If someone is hurt by us, it is always our first response to put ourselves in their shoes.

We recognize that inclusivity is not as simple as words on a page and just the statement that all are welcome. Sometimes we will need to step out of our comfort zones to make everyone feel welcome. We recognize that privilege is real and that the privileged have more bandwidth to be uncomfortable and help make our space more welcoming.

We decided when organizing this WordCamp that we would like it to be a conference that we wanted to attend ourselves. We thought it was important to bring this discussion out into the open. We want more people involved in the community and we don’t want anyone to feel silenced. We are specifically interested in making the lesser heard voices heard.

We welcome diversity because we believe it makes the open source community stronger and more productive. We believe diverse teams make better products. We strive to make everyone feel welcome and know that their contribution is important.

Come WordCamp with us.

(Adapted from the Open Source & Feelings Diversity Statement)

Photo by Chris Koerner – Licensed under Creative Commons

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