We subtitled the
conference with a reference to June Jordan’s quote “We are the People We’ve Been Waiting For” to remind
ourselves that we have to be accountable for supporting each other and ourselves to build our communities. In order for WOWH
to be successful, we must have community interests in mind in addition to our personal interests as conference attendees and
organizers. The conference centers around people of African descent who would welcome a conversation of our sexualities and genders that are as complex as the
rest of our lives. The conference also welcomes those
who do not identify in these ways. We hope everyone enjoys participating fully in WOWH, and we expect that participants will
not make assumptions about how other participants identify. Regardless of how we know individuals identify, everyone at WOWH is part of multiple communities
that overlap and intersect. Participants are expected
to allow people to bring all of their identities and complexities, and recognize our differences and privileges. As Audre
Lorde wrote: “Difference must be…seen as a fund
of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialectic.” Part of the goal of the conference is to find both the ways we are distinct and the similarities
in our work. Supporting our whole communities and the people within them helps us work toward a more socially just society.
accountable for upholding the mission. If participants, volunteers, or organizers create such a negative disruption that they
disturb the conference community or people’s ability to participate in and enjoy the conference, they will be asked
to leave for the sake of community health.
There are many
ways to be accountable in our actions. Some of them may include:
Maintaining an awareness of how we engage
with each other, how we’re communicating, how much we speak compared to other participants, and who isn’t speaking
and what issues aren’t being addressed – and considering why.
Being willing to put ourselves out there
while also setting our own limits and expecting that other people will respect them.
Recognizing that we are all surviving multiple
kinds of violence – physical and non-physical, personal and institutional – and treating each other with the respect
and sensitivity that demands.