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Situation in Doubt

Although I regularly attend a variety of conventions around New England, Arisia has always felt the closest to 'home.' It's the convention that the vast majority of my close friends attend, the first con to give me panelist spots, and the first con I started volunteering for. I haven't made as big a deal about this on this blog as I might have, but I became the Writing Track Manager for Arisia over the summer. This represents a great deal of work, some really cool opportunities, and another way, I figured, to give back to the community that meant so much to me.I invited fellow writers who I wanted to see on panels I wrote. I reached out to friends who had not attended in a while to see if they might want to attend this year. I did my best to create the best damn writing track that's ever been put on at Arisia.

And last Thursday all that fell apart.

I absolutely believe Crystal Huff, Maura Taylor, and all of the other accounts of rape and abuse occurring in the Arisia community. The details are also too similar not to see how a very flawed process caused very real pain to people who absolutely should not be suffering even more pain. That stain will linger on Arisia and its community for a very long time.

When it rolled around to Sunday and I didn't see the Corporate Board taking this situation seriously enough I offered my resignation to Programming. This was one of the hardest individual actions I've ever had to make but I also feel like I did not have a choice. I can not profess to believe in what I believe in, and be a part of an organization not taking clear and decisive action to create a safe and welcoming community for everyone. They didn't give me the sense that anything was going to change or at least not change fast enough, so I walked.

I'm not the only one, obviously, and perhaps the collection exodus of panelists, attendees, volunteers, and track managers finally managed to convince the Executive Board that something drastic was needed. The resignations announced earlier this week was exactly the step I was hoping they would have taken on Saturday or Sunday.

So that left me with a tough decision. Arisia 2019 and indeed any future Arisia convention now stand on a knife's edge. If you have come to conclusion that Arisia should disappear, I cannot really argue against you. I'd only suggest that a lot of good would go down with the ship. Arisia clearly did not live up to its own ideals but it has also offered a real community open to differences and different perspectives for many years. I, as an individual, still want that community to exist. So, I rescinded my resignation and resumed work as the Writing Track Manager.

I'm not good with situations this much in flux. There's nothing I can say that completely explains how I walked away from something one day and then came back two days later. I don't think reason can always explain our actions. Emotions are involved here. I WANT Arisia to continue. I understand that despite whatever I or anyone else does, Arisia may cease to be after this year. That's a very real possibility.

All I'm saying is that I am NEED to work to give the convention another chance. I've rejoined the Writing Track and I will continue to work to create the best panels about writing speculative fiction that I can for 2019. If mess this convention created is not something you can forget, forgive, or overlook, I understand and absolutely support your decision. Arisia, collectively, really stepped in it and there's a lot of work to be done before I would ever recommend this convention to anyone again. That said, it's my home, and when I see my roof's on fire, I'm going to pick up a bucket.

If this decision angers you, I accept and respect that. I can't change it and as long as you're willing to discuss it with me in a civil and respectful way, I'm willing open up a dialogue with you. What I am not willing to do is try my best to use what's good about Arisia to fight what's bad.

***

Whew.

There's a few other things going on in the world obviously. Elections. Electioneering. The occasional awesome television show.

I don't vote Republican. I haven't ever voted for a Republican. I don't think Republicans represent an ethical or moral option for this country.

This year I will go one step farther. The only defensible decision with a proto-fascist is hard at work destroying the institutions, values, and reputation of this country is to vote Democrat or parties caucusing with the Democrats. Don't vote Green. Don't vote Independent (unless that's the only other choice besides Republican). Vote for the only force that could possibly provide a check on this child-abusing monster: as many Democrats in every level of government as possible.

Look, the president has literally denied the fact that thousands of people died in Puerto Rico because their deaths represented a political embarrassment. When a person tells you that your life only matters in relation to his success or failure, believe them and vote accordingly.

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