Solving diversity step-by-step: My experience at Node + JS Interactive 2018
Here’s my experience of being a part of Node + JS Interactive 2018 Conference
The first ever Node + JS Interactive Conference happened in Vancouver earlier this month (Oct 2018). As with any Linux foundation event, the CFP was announced in the event dashboard where you can apply online
My talk, “Building Websites for the Invisible Majority” was accepted in the ‘Breakout Sessions’ section and I was all set to attend Vancouver for the event. But that’s when disaster struck :(
The worst floods in almost a century hit my home and it temporarily threw my world into chaos. Luckily, I was one of the few who lived in a place that didn’t get flooded in Cochin. The stress that was placed on the public facilities was immense though. It was a scary thing to live through, but we fared pretty well considering the circumstances.
Not everyone is comfortable to bring up these problems they face and they prefer to avoid inconveniencing the organizers because that’s the culture they’re from. Being sensitive to these issues and finding innovative solutions helps to build trust between both sides.
Of course, this put a huge strain on my resources and it seemed pretty evident that my visa wouldn’t get processed in time. This was my first JS Interactive, and I was feeling pretty crushed when I reached out and let the organizers know. However, considering the circumstances, they promised to explore the possibility of a remote presentation.
Over the next few days, the event organizers did their best to accommodate my special circumstance. While I was thrilled just to keep my speaking slot, they went over and beyond, realizing that being 12 hours behind, my original slot would be 2 AM Indian Time and found a way to give me a much better 9 PM Indian time slot (The first 9 AM slot on Thu, 11th Oct 2018). Here’s the link to the session and here’s the link to the PPT if you’re interested
Diversity is something that a lot of technical spaces have realized as their blind spot. As a woman of colour from a developing nation, I’m almost always a minority (in multiple ways) in most groups I’m in. While a lot of importance is placed on reducing bullying and other blatant barriers of entry, sometimes, economic reasons and other discreet barriers do exist for minorities. Not everyone is comfortable to bring up these problems and they prefer to avoid inconveniencing the organizers because that’s the culture they’re from. Being sensitive to these issues and finding innovative solutions helps to build trust between both sides.
At this point, I really have to bring up and thank the Linux Foundation for their phenomenal work in this area. They walk the talk, not only do they sponsor underrepresented communities to attend their events, but I also got to experience, first-hand, how much attention they give to their speakers’ comfort at events. Special thanks to the speaker liaisons, Shannon and Lara, who helped me through every step in this.
I had a great time at my session and got some great feedback! Looking forward to coming back next year with another fun topic and actually coming to Vancouver. Meanwhile, I hope this gives you a little bit of context and helps to organize/ participate in a conference of your own