We assessed where we are and got a lot of good work OSMF Board Screen to Screen a couple weeks ago. One place where we have not moved as much as hoped is with diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion was a big topic at the start of this year’s Board, we adopted a diversity statement and started a diversity and inclusion special committee (DISC) which had a couple good meetings. Then nothing. Why and what can be done to revitalize?
I take personal responsibility. I organized the first two meetings, but was hoping to see someone else step up to take charge on the effort. My background – white male techie from US/Western Europe – is very well represented in the OSMF, and I didn’t think it was best for the DISC to have me as the chair. On reflection, that was wrong, and I should take up the effort to bring dedicated people together and make sure they have what they need to channel limited time and energy effectively.
So I want to do three things.
First, I want to have calls with people from underrepresented groups and geographies in OSMF, hear about your involvement in OSM, what you’d like to do in OSM and OSMF (and certainly not only on diversity directly), and offer my guidance and help to find good places to contribute. OSM is hard to navigate, and I want to make direct personal effort. Many of you I have the privilege to know, many not yet. Please get in touch with me, or share my contacts with folks others.
Second, I want to revitalize DISC and simply chair it. To make it vital is again going to take personal outreach to people who have been involved, or could be involved, and find the best places again to focus. One area I think we should take up is trust and safety in our online communication spaces.
Finally, we’re about to have an OSMF Board election. I want to especially encourage underrepresented people to run – from outside North America and Europe, and women. If you think you have something to contribute, please step forward. I know it can be an uncertain move – if you have any doubts, please reach out too and I’m happy to talk about what’s it’s like.
Comment from jimkats on 28 October 2020 at 21:06
Great concept indeed, but maybe the lack of activity is on not enough promotion and general lack of interest.
Comment from arnalielsewhere on 22 June 2021 at 22:23
Hi Mikel, just saw this randomly in twitter (but obviously I was searching about diversity threads hehe). What I would suggest is like a monthly or quarterly diversity call with everyone in the community. This is an idea I got from Open Source Diversity Initiative where they conduct monthly diversity calls, and been attending to learn from them.
I would also suggest that it will be good to have someone from the board attending, but this is not something that only one OSMF board member should attend, can be a rotational too (and at alternating timezones). This may help build osmf. disc and osm community accountability on the topic.
Not sure if BBB has the same functionality, but Jitsi has a log of how much time each person speaks, so it will help track of who have not been heard yet. I recognize not everyone is comfortable to speak via voice (insert = language barrier) so we can also explore jamboards or menti which in an interactive written communication.
Comment from mikelmaron on 27 June 2021 at 19:07
Hey @arnalielsewhere I think something like this could be great. What’s needed is someone to pick up the reins. I’d be happy to attend and participate.
One thing I have been waiting on is the conclusion of planning work by the LCCWG subcommittee on moderation, since I think that’s a key milestone.