This past week has been a whirlwind. I was away at a library conference in California; Meeting with friends and colleagues. As news broke about SB 101 awaiting Governor Pence’s promised signature, I was saddened.
Many of my friends and colleagues already experience discrimination, and now it is to be accepted as legal. I felt powerless, but I looked around me.
There were several committee members for two upcoming conferences will be in Indianapolis: DPLA-fest (Digital Public Libraries of America festival) and Open Repositories.
I informed them of the current state of the legislation and asked that they review their code of conduct and see how it reconciles with Indiana’s climate.
Within the day there were initial responses; Perhaps timid, but I understand that the response comes from a loose affiliation of people gathering for common professional cause; Not social cause.
But they responded, adding their voice. And I am proud to associate with these organizations.
They reminded me that we are all in this together. And I saw other voices chiming in; Not with bluster and politicking, but with measured delibedration, acknowledging that boycotting an entire state can damage those they are attempting to support.
But I want this to go further, Indiana is not the only state that has similar ordinances, laws, etc on the books. I would like “discriminatory climate” to be a deal-breaker for locations of all future events of conferences I attend.
But not a silent deal breaker.
I want to see open letters, calls for transformation, and conversations about their decision making process.
I want to see conferences already committed to locations to collaborate with their hosts to build a code of collaboration and co-mingling.
I want to see this, so that I can acknowledge and celebrate baby steps towards improving the human condition.
In an era of internet anonymity and animosity, I want people to see that there are allies around them. Not just people, but institutions, federations, gatherings, and congregations. Each willing to say I’m not just open for business, but I’m embracing the humanity in each of us.