Ever since we published our speaker line-up for this year’s Positive Parenting Conference, we’ve received several emails asking why we don’t have more representation for Persons of Color (POCs) in our speaker panel.
I’d like to take a minute to explain.
First though, for those of you who don’t know me – I am the organizer and host of this conference and I am a POC. So this is close to my heart and I take it seriously!
Ok, back to our speaker panel.
So, right from the early days of the conference, we’ve had a fairly established system for deciding our speakers.
All through the year, we maintain a list of great parenting and personal development books based on recommendations by our past conference attendees and the AFineParent.Com community, discussions within our Positive Parenting Village Facebook group, recommendations by our past speakers, references in the articles we accept for publication and so on.
When we start working on the conference, we pull up this list and make a shorter list based on our own experience with the books, the reviews on Amazon, overlaps in the topics covered by the books etc.
It’s after this that we start reaching out to the authors to see if they are interested and available to join us.
Until now, we believed that this selection process was essentially color-blind since we start with the books and not the authors.
But now, I am beginning to realize that systemic inequalities are affecting our selection process without even our awareness since POC authors seem to be quite under-represented in our space.
This is an important realization and I thank everyone who helped us see this!
The question now is what are we going to do about it?
Here’s what we have decided:
Since this impacts our entire selection process, we want to give it the time and consideration it deserves, because looking for a “quick fix” could be as harmful as ignoring the issue altogether.
So for now, we will continue to focus on serving the parents who have signed up for our current conference.
Once we’re done with this conference, we are going to take a long hard look at this issue, and talk to people to determine how best to proceed.
In summary, please know this: we are aware that there is an issue, and it is as important to us as it is to you that we figure out a solution.
Thank you for being someone who cares! Please send us any suggestions of experts we should consider for next year’s conference who can help bring more diversity to our panel by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are always listening!