Tuesday, January 3, 2023

SCA signal boost

 Signal boost, from public Facebook post

For the last 3-ish years, I have been the corporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer of the SCA. Now, there is no official SCA DEI officer at all. I think it’s important that I share why. This will be long, but if you are involved with the SCA, I urge you to read it.
As a note: the Board of Directors in the SCA is ever-changing. Members come and go every six months, and there are only 7 (the Board does not include the President or any other Officer). There have been Board members in my time I was proud to work alongside. I have enjoyed my work with all the Officers I have worked with. Society and Corporate offices are some of the most thankless jobs you can imagine, and I cannot say enough about the fabulous work I have seen. Any references to the Board are references to a collective institution.
A year before the end of my warrant approached, I put forward my suggestions for what I believed needed to happen to move DEI forward in the SCA. I believed that a Society DEI officer should be made in addition to the Corporate, that the DEI office should be made a greater office, and that training should be created and provided to all those serving in high level positions in the SCA.
My proposal was not implemented, with what I felt was general dismissal. The following year felt like a series of artificial roadblocks and microaggressions. I was miserable and disheartened, but DEI is dear to me, and I stayed the course, despite feeling increasingly excluded and disrespected. I was concerned about succession planning. More generally, I did not feel that communication was adequate - I felt constantly out of the loop.
My warrant expired. I offered to extend my term (a practice I had seen multiple times in my years volunteering in the DEI office), and the President and I eagerly began to make plans to ensure that the office continued to thrive. At what turned out to be my last meeting, my entreaty to the Board was to pinpoint what they wanted from the DEI office so that true progress could be made.
On Monday, November 29th, I was informed that the Board of Directors would not be extending my warrant, which had, at this point, ended two months prior.
The speed with which I was removed afterward was startling. Though I had requested a week, my email and share point access was immediately removed, preventing me from accessing my own documents and work. I had no time to reach out to those who I worked with, and no time to note their emails for future collaboration or share my own personal email to stay in contact. The disdain with which I was treated by the Board after three years of faithful service was hurtful.
I have had no negative feedback from the Board. I have had next-to-no direction. I have, in fact, been commended by a previous iteration of same, and performed consistently - despite feeling constant pushback on almost all of my suggestions, ideas, and questions.
I was not afforded the dignity of a last meeting, a goodbye, or a thank you, though other outgoing Officers during my time generally were to the best of my knowledge. I was not even afforded the true reason why I was removed, though it’s not hard to guess.
If I wrote this last month, my pain would have penned a different missive. But I will not allow the problematic and narrow minded viewpoints of some to inhibit my pride in the very real progress we have made. The introduction of DEI in the Society was necessary and good, and I’m proud of all who have contributed to it. But in my mind, there are two very serious issues to address here.
The first is this: We have an issue with our corporate infrastructure. We have outgrown the framework that supported us for so long.
A system through which -
1. people are nominated to the Board,
2. the existing Board then selects who they will go on to interview, and then,
3. must unanimously agree on
-is rife with bias and abuse. I believe that a robust Board is one that will encompass a variety of personalities, opinions, and schools of thought, and the very process we use is in opposition to this.
I am certain there was a time in which this process (which feels so much like our peerage circles in practice) was effective. I believe this time has firmly passed.
We must push for better. We deserve a Board that will give due consideration to all. There are many different strategies we could use to select Board members that would serve us better.
The second is this: we have a very serious issue with DEI when the DEI Officer is begging to be included.
There are many misconceptions about the DEI Office. A popular one: it was not a society office, which meant I had no power or even necessarily knowledge of kingdom, regional, and baronial DEI officers unless they chose to engage with me. Many did, and we happily collaborated. Many did not, and their work and teachings may not have been consistent with the corporate level DEI vision.
Another: I was not allowed into the session of each meeting where sanctions are discussed. I wanted to be available to give information to help identify when or if something may have been influenced by the principles of DEI. It is important that DEI is integrated into all parts and levels in an organization - without a knowledgeable entity in the room to determine when DEI is relevant, opportunities may be missed.
I have experienced problematic behavior throughout the length of my term. Not just from the public, from whom I received everything from derision to anonymous death threats, but from the people I had hoped would be the most supportive.
It has been pointed out to me that it is an almost textbook example of what happens to POC working in DEI in problematic corporate spaces: an excruciating amount of (often invisible) labor until the changes suggested are unwelcome or optics are potentially poor, and then gaslighting and a sharp dismissal.
The sad reality that I have come to is that the corporate DEI position in its current iteration is becoming superficial and performative. Change is still happening - but not from the top, and it is because many of those at the top choose not to recognize the need for it.
The way that the DEI Office has been treated, and indeed, the entire concept of DEI, is a problem.
DEI work is about addressing disparities in race, gender, and sexual preference, yes, but DEI is also about endeavoring to keep our site accessible. DEI is about making sure folks in rural communities are not forgotten. DEI is about creating an environment that is safe and welcoming to families with children. The list continues, but the heart is the same.
DEI is about everyone, and if we wish to grow, survive, and thrive as an organization, we cannot allow it to fall by the wayside.
I am only one SCAdian who loves what we do a bit too well. Please use your voices to advocate for the change we need.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

DSotC - claims?

 I have no details here; sharing for informational & documentation purposes (public FB posts, 7/26 & 7/27):

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Photos of past events

 It has been brought to my attention that JM is posting images from past Steampunk World's Fair events as part of promoting his upcoming events. While he is within his rights to use any photos from his previous events (as long as taken by a staff photographer, or the photographer has given him permission), YOU have the right to comment on pictures of yourself with a statement informing any viewers that it is a past event, and you can share your current opinion of said events and event runner. 

Hubris said it well: 

On January 28, 2018 we released a statement that HVBRIS would no longer be performing at Jeff Mach Events (JME) events that JM is involved with or profits from. TL;DR, that statement stands.
It has come to our attention that JM, and events he is affiliated with, are using photos of our past performances at his JME events for promotional purposes. Just to clarify, we (and likely every other performer at his events) signed releases for images and video to be used for future events and promotional purposes. Legally JME is within his rights to use most media, taken at his events by staff photographers, for these purposes without any additional consent.
That being said, we have continued to monitor events in the Northeast and will continue our support of the community by not supporting JME and affiliated events. If there are questions, please send them our way.

Halloween Oddities Market

 Yet another JM event: Halloween Oddities

Halloween Oddities Market, at Blackthorne Resort. 

Please be aware, friends! 

Thursday, April 7, 2022

CTRF (public FB post)

 This is an awful tale. This also shows that even when authorities are contacted and involved, it doesn't always work out. (published with permission)

CW: Rape, Child Abuse
TLDR: We won’t be returning to CTRF, and the Judge Declined to sign the warrant to arrest Shiloh’s rapist.
We have been silent regarding this issue for the last two years, putting our faith in the “System”, but well aware that the system would more than likely let us down. What we did not expect was for the people we trusted, such as the owners of the The Connecticut Renaissance Faire, to also let us down.
In the fall of 2019, at 14 years old, Shiloh worked as an unpaid volunteer for the for-profit institution of CTRF. He had been working there since he was nine, and like most rennie families, felt comfortable and safe there. I often switched off with his father, Eric Fair, or a few trusted friends to chaperone him on these weekends of volunteer work.
On the grounds of the faire that year, Shiloh was sexually assaulted, multiple times, feet from his father, by an 18 year old man known as Anthony “TaterTot” Hoffman.
In April of 2020, amid the pandemic, and years of therapy, Shiloh came forward. Anthony was in the middle of a *different* sexual assault of a minor case, and that gave him the strength to come forward and tell us what happened. We immediately called the state police in Connecticut and opened a case. We notified the owners of Hitting and Stabbing Emporium, where Shiloh volunteered, as well as the owners of CTRF, who were ‘mortified’ that it happened on faire grounds and promised us he would be banned immediately.
In the fall of 2021, as the pandemic restrictions were easing, things were changing in the faire scene. While The Hitting & Stabbing Emporium would not be returning to the faire for the season, many of Shiloh’s friends were, and he wanted to return. We were faced with the problem: do we allow our now 16 year old to not be punished for being a victim, or do we protect him. We discussed it as a family, and decided to put our faith in “Our faire family”.
We were betrayed. The second to last weekend of the faire, Shiloh calls me in hysterical tears. Not only was Anthony on the grounds of the faire he was working, but he had been invited back to work security. We immediately removed Shiloh from the situation and got him to safety. When the Faire management was questioned, we were told that *they* were told by Anthony ‘the case was closed’.
It was not. The *first* assault case against him had been closed. Ours was still open. We had not been consulted, asked, or warned.
In fact, on 1/18/2022 we received the best news in two years: the Detective on the case had submitted a warrant to be signed for Anthony’s arrest. For those of you who don’t know how this works: A case is opened. It’s worked on for as long, and with however much resources are allocated to it, a warrant is submitted to the court with evidence for arrest, a judge signs the warrant (Or not), then the perpetrator is arrested, then prosecution begins.
Unfortunately, two months later (yes that’s how long it sat on the judge’s desk) we were told that the judge declined to sign it. Case… closed.
But it isn’t closed. My son was sexually abused by an adult who will be working *Security* at the Connecticut renaissance festival this year. Who was working security the year he raped my child. And CTRF’s response was not what we expect from a ‘faire family’. Shiloh has all of the support and love from his real friends and family, has been in therapy and will continue to have those supports. My fear: our fear, is that this man will hurt another child.
This is our truth. Shiloh will be posting his own statement on his page.
If you have anything to say that isn’t support, please PM it to me.