But also critical to those conversations are diversity and inclusiveness. Are people of all genders, all
gender expressions, all sexualities, all races, all religions, all national origins, all abilities, all ages, all body types, and a number of other identities welcome not only at Sirens, but in those conversations? Are they able to both speak and be heard? Are their voices critical to not only their own Sirens experience, but to everyone’s Sirens experience?
Over our decade of presenting Sirens, we have learned that, while some voices are readily welcomed and readily heard, other voices—such as those of people of color—are too often lost in the crowd or are silenced entirely.
Too often, conferences—even in our speculative spaces where authors can and do write impossible worlds full of magic and wonder—are overwhelmingly white. Too often, the voices at these conferences—guests of honor, presenters, conference staff, volunteers—are overwhelmingly white. Too often, conferences make a broad commitment to diversity, but don’t follow through to make that commitment real. It can be exceptionally difficult for people of color to enter, participate, and be heard in those spaces, let alone play a vital and visible role in them.
One actionable way for our community to increase inclusiveness at Sirens is to provide scholarships to help people of color attend. This year, we are seeking funds to provide three people of color with both a Sirens registration and a round-trip Sirens Shuttle ticket. Once funded, we will accept applications for these scholarships beginning in February. To apply, you need only be a person of color who wishes to attend Sirens—and if you are, we hope that you’ll apply! We will select recipients randomly from among the applicants.
Sirens is built on a thousand conversations. But the value of those conversations—and the value of the community born of those conversations—is built on the diversity of voices that participate in those conversations.
If you can—whether that’s $5 or a full scholarship of $325—we hope that you’ll help us provide these scholarships!
You can donate any amount to these scholarships, and if you choose to donate—no matter the amount—we will feature you, under your chosen name (or anonymous), on our website and in our program book. More importantly, our Sirens team and our community will be grateful for your commitment both to those who might not otherwise be able to attend Sirens and to the inclusiveness of our community.
Donations for the scholarship program will be accepted through January 31, 2020.
Thank you for your support!
As Sirens operates under the auspices of Narrate Conferences, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, all donations are eligible for tax deduction within the United States. Sirens staff are, of course, not eligible for scholarships. Any leftover or unclaimed funds will be considered donations to Sirens. If you have any questions or concerns, please write Amy at (amy.tenbrink at sirensconference.org).