Community Discussion: Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Roadmap
Whether you are new to The Carpentries community or have been part of the community for a long time, we want you to share your experiences, ideas, and perspective around equity, inclusion, and accessibility at the upcoming Community Discussion (21-22 May). Join the discussion at the following dates/times:
Sign up on the Community Discussions Etherpad to attend. Connection details for Zoom (video conferencing) and audio connection details are located on the Etherpad.
Read below about how we are thinking about equity, inclusion, and accessibility, and how to get involved in developing our roadmap.
Recognizing the Need for Focused Attention
There is an adage that reads, “honesty is the best policy.” Well, if I’m being honest we have scaled tremendously over the past three years since I was hired to lead assessment for Data Carpentry. In that time, we have managed to:
- Onboard Regional Coordinators in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom to support local community building.
- Revise our Code of Conduct documentation for transparency and clarity.
- Translate more lessons, and
- Onboard a Leadership Team for the Instructor Development Committee.
This scaling pushes us closer to achieving The Carpentries mission: to train and foster an active, inclusive and diverse community of learners and instructors who promote and model the importance of software and data in research.
As our community expands, however, it is crucial that we take the time to acknowledge not only our success, but areas that need improvement. For example, many of our engagement opportunities require the use of video conferencing, but what if you live in a low bandwidth community or do not have access to a reliable internet connection?
Our post-workshop survey includes accessibility accommodation feedback, but have we equipped instructors with knowledge and resources for accessibility accommodations?
Are there cultural norms in specific regions that, as a community, we should be aware of and sensitive to?
With these ideas in mind, we are taking this quarter to develop an Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Roadmap. Our approach to equity, inclusion, and accessibility, though thoughtful and intentional, has been reactive at times. Each process and program- from how we collect information to how we support subcommunities - should include elements of a roadmap that ensures we are advocating for community equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Operational definitions for these terms are listed below.
The definitions for these terms were adapted from California State East Bay’s Diversity, Leadership, and Employee Wellness site.
Equity: The creation of opportunities for equal access to and participation in programs that are capable of closing participation gaps in our community.
Inclusion: The active, intentional, and ongoing engagement of diverse people and communities that increases awareness, content knowledge, and empathic understanding of the ways we interact within (and change) our community.
Accessibility: Program/process design and implementation that offers multiple avenues for access and participation.
Developing an Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Roadmap
We want to build our roadmap with the community, not for the community. In the jobs, teams, and project plans announcement we discussed the importance of each team defining, measuring, and assessing outcomes, and consistently incorporating our values around equity, inclusion, and accessibility with feedback from the communities we touch. From our Business Team to our Workshop Administration Team, we consider and incorporate equity, inclusion and accessibility in all the work that we do. Teams work with various subcommunities/subcommittees to lower and potentially eliminate barriers to accessibility wherever possible. We believe all community members should have positive experiences.
Having each team’s function and goals written down is the first step we’ve taken to formalizing a roadmap for equity, inclusion, and accessibility. The Community Discussion on 21-22 May is our second step, so please sign up to attend. Additionally, we are learning from leaders across the globe through short interviews about global trends and community dynamics. By the end of June we hope to publish a dynamic equity, inclusion, and accessibility roadmap to include multi-year goals, implementation strategies, and assessment and evaluation strategies.
Your voice is important in developing this roadmap. It is not your responsibility to do the work, but we do want to hear from you about what challenges you or others you know might have faced, approaches you’re aware of, etc. We want to work with you to find solutions that make sense and continue to develop and maintain them. Here’s how to share your feedback or be involved in the discussion:
- Attend the community discussion,
- File or comment on an issue in the equity-and-inclusion repo,
- Discuss on the #accessibility Slack channel,
- Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with me directly.
We thank you in advance for your engagement in this process, and hope to hear and learn from you.