one day, one conversation

“Therefore, I want people to understand this: It is much easier to have a conversation with someone on Instagram whether it is nice, constructive, or just outright bullying. It’s much harder to actually have a conversation face-to-face with people and to talk about the issues. It feels like the same people are talking to each other online and we need to take this message beyond Instagram.”
– Diane Ivey, Perspective  May 3rd, 2019

On Sunday, July 21st 2019 a group of creatives from the maker community gathered at the Hotel Providence to listen and learn.

We wanted to come together to gain more understanding, more clarity around the layers of racism and exclusion that are woven through this culture with a specific focus on the maker community, and to develop greater awareness of the layers of intersectionality—which is deep, multi-faceted and touches every one of us.

Guest speaker Tiffany Latrice shared some of her journey in creating TILA Studios whose mission is to empower Black Women Artists in Atlanta so that they can create and showcase their work.

photo courtesy of TILA Studios

The second half of the program featured a panel discussion* with Gaye Glasspie, Diane Ivey, Brandi Cheyenne Harper and Mindy Tsonas. The discussion was moderated by Michelle Vitale.

*(Please note:  Virginia Johnson was scheduled to join the panel
but was unable to attend due to insurmountable travel issues)

The questions asked to the panel were submitted to the moderator from the panelists themselves and the audience. The only question submitted from Squam was to ask about the appropriateness of using the terms “diversity and inclusion” for this work.

This is only one conversation as it is part of a much larger narrative and it is not perfect. It cannot be. There is no such thing. If we waited to be perfect before beginning, no progress would be made.

The video is three hours in length*. Therefore, we are posting this now so that people have time to watch it at their pace and on their schedule. Comments on this blog will be open on Sunday, July 28th from 11am – 2pm EST (to mirror the gathering of last Sunday) and will be moderated according to the guidelines outlined below.

Our chief priority has been to provide our panelists, moderator, guest speaker, and attendees as safe a space as possible to speak from their personal lived experience. We will continue to uphold the integrity of our safe container in this online environment as well.

To this aim, we are grateful for you honoring the following guidelines when posting your comment:

  1. Comments are open to anyone who wants to share their thoughts, experiences, or reflections on the conversation and discussion specifically shared in this video.
  2. We encourage you to use I-statements and speak from your own experience.
  3. Please be respectful of all voices.
  4. Bear in mind, Squam’s role here is to create space for this dialogue, not to serve as experts, teachers or guides as we are currently deep in our own learning about anti-racism work.
  5. We welcome and celebrate differences in opinion and perspective, but will not tolerate or post any comments that seek to harm or disrespect another human being, including our panelists, our moderator, our guest speaker, audience members, and other commenters on this thread.

Out of our Stitched Together gathering on Sunday has come a beautiful and important contribution to the continuing conversation on representation, accessibility and inclusion in maker spaces. We are immensely grateful for all that the panelists had to share and we hope that you take the time to listen and reflect on how you can respond to their calls to action.

We invite you to carry this conversation forward, through your own authentic actions and dialogue, in the ways and on the platforms that best suit you.

Thank you for being a thoughtful part of this community work.

Elizabeth, Meg and Mindy

*We want to address the quality and accessibility gaps in this video recording: as an in-person event company the intention to record was secondary and we did not give adequate time, thought and planning for the needs associated with making a video. As a result, we do not have sign language translation or transcription available with this video. This has been a learning for us. We now see the need to be much more thorough as we plan future events with AV. In addition, due to a last minute change in venue, our mic/audio preparation was compromised which was very disappointing for us. We are aware of these gaps and keen to have better results in the future.

backpack wisdom from a fourth grader