We apologize to the R.A.C.E. team for their volunteering experience with SIGCHI. Their post serves as a reminder that we must be purposeful in our anti-racist stance, as well as reflect on the power structures that exist within our institutions that disadvantage minority voices.
We will strive to recognize and support the work of every volunteer. We value the time that our volunteers put into SIGCHI service; indeed we would not exist without it. We are also mindful that diversity and inclusion work is typically performed by those already impacted and under-represented. It is critical that we manage expectations carefully so that volunteers do not feel hurt and/or devalued. Moving forward, we will develop and provide well-documented guidelines (e.g., regarding ACM/SIGCHI policies) so that volunteers can make an informed choice on how best to direct their efforts.
We will aim for effective communication and coordination among (teams of) volunteers. Multiple teams were formed in early 2019 to address varied dimensions of diversity and inclusion in SIGCHI that we wished to prioritize, the R.A.C.E. team being one among them. We apologize that our attempt to consolidate and streamline the teams’ efforts came across as appropriating the R.A.C.E. team’s work. We also regret our poor communication around ACM’s Conflict of Interest policy, our understanding of which disallowed findings from a SIGCHI volunteer team’s survey to be submitted for peer review. Many pain points would have been averted if we had communicated and coordinated earlier and better.
We will continue to build channels for SIGCHI members to safely and openly express discontent. All SIGCHI members must feel able to raise their voices and engage in dialogue against any injustices they experience. We will bolster channels such as (the newly formed) SIGCHI CARES for these voices to be expressed, heard, and responded to in safe spaces.
Our conversations sparked by the R.A.C.E. team’s post have been hard but constructive, and we appreciate the team for surfacing their concerns. We align with their vision of a #SIGCHI4ALL, and fully intend to take the recommendations in their post seriously. Like them, we also solicit more diverse participation on the EC, and elections are coming up. Finally, we intend to continue working with and for our community to fulfill the promises made in our statement last week to listen, learn, act, and represent. This work has begun.
The SIGCHI Executive Committee.