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For the past 20 years, CONvergence has grown and built upon the core principles it started on, expanding as new people and new fandoms have emerged, striving to always be relevant and in line with the future as you would expect a group of Sci-Fi nerds and geeks to be. Yet, even as we have blazed a trail into the future, some elements, even some individuals, have remained in the past.
For many of us, the past may have been rough or bleak, characterized by bullying, marginalization or even exclusion. We, each of us, found a home within the CONvergence Community, connecting with people with similar passions and similar background. We found people with life experiences that if they didn’t parallel, at least related on some level to give us some common ground and an overall common link to one other. Because of that, we have strived to build a safe community with zero tolerance for the negative things we have each faced in the outside world.
But that’s no longer enough. As times have changed, our understanding of issues, of boundaries, of behavior have also changed, as have our understanding of what it takes to create a safe space, to create a welcoming community that embraces everyone. It is no longer enough to merely put words on paper or create a policy, we have to engage our core values; not just at the convention, but in our everyday lives; we have to do more than welcome or even celebrate diversity, we have to seek it out and bring it into our community in order to help our community thrive. We have to strive to be better.
For these reasons, as we embark on the Next Celebration in a new space, we will be boldly going where no convention has gone before. From this point forward, we will challenge everyone in our community to be their best selves and in doing so, charge all of our members to embrace the core values of CONvergence both inside the convention and out, and we will hold ourselves accountable to those standards. Our purview will no longer stop at the end of the convention, but rather we will hold our members to account for their behavior and themselves year round. Unacceptable actions and behavior will not be tolerated whether they happen at the convention or abroad; if it is harming people, if it is damaging to our community, it is not acceptable, and we will address such actions and behaviors swiftly and fairly.
At the same time, we will handle with compassion those of our members who do not intend to, but nevertheless, transgress some boundaries through ignorance or failing to evolve with the times. We will assist, as far as possible, our members who need extra help and guidance in changing and becoming better. We stand the best chance of helping our members to evolve constructively and will compassion and our goal will be to assist in the redemption of those honest and sincere enough to recognize their issues and seek assistance.
Lastly, we will put stronger, more direct efforts into diversity, equity and inclusion to help those most marginalized by our society, who are often missing from our community, to be a larger part of it, and for our programming, guests and services and convention as a whole to reflect these priorities. It is no longer enough to merely leave the door open; we must engage underrepresented groups, especially the communities of color, and not only welcome them but actively recruit and engage them in being a part of our community until it is recognized as their community as well.
We recognize that for some, these principles and direction may be a significant cultural shift, but science fiction has always been at the forefront of progress and change. As our society and the needs of the community have changed, so, too, must we. These are not radical new ideas, but rather fully embracing those things that are essential to the growth and strength of our community.
We must do better. We will be better.
It is right.
Convergence Events | 2355 Fairview Ave #162 | Roseville MN, 55113
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