This week we bring you a guest post by Winstina Hughes. Read on as she shares about a very important movement.
The WordPress community has expressed tremendous support for the call to action to sponsor underrepresented/minority WordCamp speakers by removing the financial burden of their travel and lodging expenses. But who made the call, and what inspired it? Listen in to learn who made the call to action, what inspired her, the goal of the initiative, and where to seek support or offer sponsorship.
I am Winstina. I am a WCUS 2022 Organizer on the Programming Team, a WordPress NYC Meetup Co-Organizer, WordCamp NYC 2018 Lead Organizer, a Core Contributor, and a speaker.
Since April the WordPress community has expressed tremendous support for my call to action to sponsor underrepresented/minority WordCamp speakers by removing the financial burden of their travel and lodging expenses.
But what inspired my call?
Earlier this year WordCamp Europe faced backlash on Twitter about the lack of diverse representation on its 2022 organizing team.
Things got heated. But if we are honest, lack of diverse representation isn’t WordCamp Europe specific.
My take on it is that the WordPress community, and its programming, mirrors many societies that grapple with full participation of all groups beyond the dominant group. Contributors forgo participation in community events due to income limitations.
While others miss the mark with full inclusion, I believe the WordPress community can rise to the occasion.
The WCEU conversation on diversity and inclusion moved from Twitter to Slack communities. A blog post was published on Make WordPress about ways to increase underrepresented group participation in community programming.
Something aligned in me during these conversations and I wrote this call to action on my blog:
I think the WordPress mission to democratize publishing is quite possibly realizing something more.
The philosophy behind WordPress, and its Four Freedoms, may be realizing a Fifth Freedom.
The freedom to experience a thriving community truly open to everyone through sharing of information about The WordPress Open Source Project at community events.
A realization of a Fifth Freedom would transcend barriers that preclude the inclusion of individuals who want to participate in community event programming but can not or do not.
Do new community members know all the ways community involvement offers personal, professional, and business fulfillment?
Or anticipate the financial costs to speak at WordCamps that require travel and lodging?
Did the co-founders Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little know that, together, they would create and sustain The WordPress Open Source Project?
Did Mike know his presence speaks to how underrepresented/minority groups redefine open source software?
Did Matt know he would be a fierce advocate of the Four Freedoms and nurture a Community Team that supports the hard work of community organizers, sponsors, and affinity groups stretching boundaries for diversity and full inclusion?
What I know is this:
Together, we can assist our Open Source Community, with its mission to democratize publishing, in reducing barriers to the full inclusion of underrepresented/minority speakers – speakers who want to participate in WordCamp programming.
Underrepresented speakers come from around the world. They are members of minority groups who experience financial disparity limiting their full participation due to their racial, ethnic, gender, LGBTQ identity, religion, national origin or perceived divergent physical or cognitive characteristics.
Together, we can remove the financial burden of travel and lodging expenses to support these speakers with WordPress programming.
I invite you to join me and my partners in the WordPress ecosystem, GoDaddy, Post Status, Yoast, MasterWP, Gravity Forms, Paid Membership Pro, and Weglot in bringing this support to underrepresented speakers at WordCamps around the world.
Register your interest at supportinclusionintech.com.