In keeping with an ongoing effort toward greater inclusion and equity at CHI, we’re happy to announce the chairing of a new position: CHI Equity. Meant to help build greater capacity for inclusive practices and foster a culture of respect, this position is tasked with a number of responsibilities: from advocacy and service/facility establishment to communication between other SIGs and chairs; program development; training programs; space-making; accountability maintenance; and on-the-ground support for equity-related efforts at the conference.
CHI is an enormous event and institution. It reflects the work of many hands, minds and hearts, and many of the equity initiatives and programs would not exist without dedicated volunteer chairs. Beyond the extensive work of the General Chairs and Assistants to the General Chairs, CHI currently involves efforts from: Local Arrangements Chairs, Accessibility Chairs, CHI Family/Childcare Chairs, Diversity and Inclusion Lunch Chairs, Language Inclusion Chairs, Newcomers Chairs, Sustainability Chairs, Communications Chair, Telepresence and Livestreaming Chairs, and countless others and their surrounding support communities. With over 50 different chaired positions responsible for the many initiatives at CHI, the transmission of information (be it feedback, lessons, plans or needs) is complicated. Small mistakes are magnified, and sometimes large issues are overlooked. Part of our role is helping with communication, doing what we can to ensure better institutional memory and on-the-ground initiatives.
It’s our inaugural year, so our position is largely in development and administrative. However, we’ve done great deal of review: what’s been working for past participants, what hasn’t, and what’s possible within organizational limitations. We’ve consulted with over 60 professionals and organizations with long-standing experience in equity, capacity-building, and organizing. And with the support of the CHI steering committee and CHI 2019’s general chairs, we would like to announce several initiatives. Alongside our internal efforts to build upon previous years’ work, we’d like to highlight the following initiatives (and encourage you to visit the Equity page for more information on each):
- ALLYSHIP PROGRAM: This year you will see allies (designated by an “ALLY” pin) throughout the entire conference. Selected for their past experiences in equity-related activities and organizing, these volunteers have received training by us in basic bystander intervention, harassment, and discrimination management, as well as relevant policies and CHI Equity procedures. They are friendly and informed faces we encourage you to approach whether you have questions about equity matters, need direction, or are looking to file a report. If you would like to volunteer as an official ally, please indicate so on your registration!
- LISTENING POST: Another opportunity to hear and be heard, there will be a drop-in “listening post” event on May 8th from 8:00-10:20am, in Island B CROWN. This will be an opportunity to openly express your experiences, thoughts, wants, and concerns regarding your CHI experience, to the Equity Chairs and other organizers.
- REPORTING SYSTEM: In the event that an attendee experiences or witnesses harassment or discrimination during their time at the CHI, we encourage you to file a report. Doing so helps keep us aware of recurring issues, problematic individuals, or structural inequalities that we may have overlooked.
- CHANNELS FOR COMMUNICATION: In addition to revising the standard post-conference survey, we have added the listening post event, one-on-one’s with the Equity chairs during CHI (just flag us down if you see us in person!), a report-filing system, allies, and an anonymous message center.
- MULTI-FAITH QUIET ROOM: This year, an on-site multi-faith room has been secured. Rules and guidelines, compiled from best practices across international sources, will be posted outside the room.
- ALL-GENDER BATHROOMS: New this year, SIGCHI has adopted a policy for all-gender bathrooms (restrooms) that applies to the organization of all SIGCHI-sponsored conferences.
- BABY-CHANGE FACILITIES: Please note that the 2019 conference venue features change tables for infants in separate rooms apart from the restrooms.
- DESENSITIZATION ROOM: Participants have shown continued support for an on-site quiet space to decompress, reset, or temporarily distance themselves from the high-intensity stimulation of the conference.
- BETTER BADGE PRONOUNS: All attendees will be given the option to self-identify (or not) on their badges during registration. These badges will be checked and proofed prior to distribution.
- IMPROVED DIETARY REQUIREMENTS: We’re working closely with the registration team and SEC in order to accommodate the wide range of dietary needs during the conference.
We are extremely motivated to start laying the groundwork for the sustained growth of equity-related efforts in our conference community. We’re here to be accountable to you, help communicate across the labor of many hands and hearts that make CHI possible, and to do what we can to facilitate better community norms and a culture of understanding at CHI. Follow us, find and speak with us during the conference, and head over to the equity page for a lot of important information, community guidelines and events!