Like many, if not all of you, I've been watching social media with abject horror as police brutality and white supremacy have run rampant across the USA. I've been watching as more and more black people speak out and speak up about their horrific experiences with racism across the globe, and have been learning that I know so little, despite what I might have thought in the past. I'm sorry to say that I've been one of Those People, asking for help from PoC in figuring out the best way to help; the ways to do it in the least conflict-inducing way possible, out of fear and anxiety. But I've also had the swift realisation that there's just no time or place for fear and anxiety when it comes to speaking up and being an ally. Being an ally means you'll probably get something wrong, have to face your shortcomings head-on and face the consequences.
It's one thing to try and help when you're an individual. But I, and the PodUK team, have a platform. And we haven't been using that platform well enough.
For all three of our PodUK events, the line-ups have been overwhelmingly white. We're aware of it, and it's something we are always working to change. I don't want to pat myself or the team on the back, or have others do so for us, for the bare minimum we have been doing in terms of inclusion of black people and PoC into our events; instead I want to make sure that this is acknowledged, looked in the face, and changed.
Ours is a small platform, to be sure, but it's a platform that's grown since 2018 on the basis of inclusivity, accessibility, and community. We can't truly claim to have achieved those if we cannot represent all forms of diversity in our line-ups. It's also a platform that is truly one of a kind across the globe; we're one of the only podcast events that focuses on podcasting fans and fandoms in the world, and of those that exist, PodUK is one that came from nothing. No money, no name, just passion and a will to build something great. For those reasons, we need to set an example, and so far, we haven't been. We want to reflect the podcasting community: a rich, diverse world full of fantastic creators of all colours, sexualities and genders.
Consider this a pledge that our 2021 event, if it goes ahead, will be more representative. That any event we put on going forward will be more representative. With coronavirus still spreading through our communities, and with a government that is not doing their due diligence in protecting their citizens against it, it's difficult to say if a 2021 event will happen or not. But we want it to. And if it does go ahead, we're going to be better.
Thank you - I won't take up any more of your time. Instead, I ask that you go donate to Black Lives Matter causes (or if you can't, watch this video and the many that are starting to appear like it with adblockers off to accrue ad revenue that will get donated to various causes), sign petitions, listen to black voices. CLICK HERE for relevant links. [The link seems to be broken right now, hopefully it'll be back online soon.] Protest if you can (but safely, with masks & PPE as much as possible).
Jess, Bret & Chris