This fall, I'm joining with Tim Chevalier, Clément Delafargue, Eric Merritt, and Chung-chieh (Ken) Shan to challenge the functional programming community to help make computer science conferences more welcoming to more people. We have two goals:
Support the work of the Ada Initiative by donating(Edited to add: We reached our initial $4096 goal at 1:15 PM Pacific time on Tuesday the 16th, so we are now aiming to raise $8192 by Friday!)
$4096$8192 by 5pm Pacific time on Friday, September 19th. Use and share the URL https://adainitiative.org/donate/? campaign=lambda so that we functional programmers may be counted!
Call on the ACM to definitively support and publicize their anti-harassment policy for their conferences. If you're on Twitter, tweet @TheOfficialACM with the hashtag #lambda4ada with something like:
Being part of the functional programming community has been an incredibly valuable and rewarding part of my life. Much as Tim says in his post, conferences like ICFP offer a wonderful recurring dose of friendship, support, and belonging.
However, conferences like this are not necessarily as welcoming to folks who aren't white, cis, hetero, well-off men like me. This isn't usually due to any overtly toxic behaviors as in other communities (hi, fellow atheist gamers!), but due to a combination of incidental condescension, microaggressions, and other subtle ways that often well-meaning people can exclude those who aren't already part of the in-crowd. We can push back against these exclusions by supporting the work of the Ada Initiative and making sure ACM stands behind their anti-harassment policy.
In the last year I have become a member of the Haskell.org committee, donating my time to help improve our community, but I am under no illusions that the balance is equal. Because of functional programming, I have a career so cool I could not have imagined it, I have friendships of great depth and strength, and I have the privilege of constant learning as we discover and invent together every day. Laying down this challenge is part of what I can do to repay this debt, and I hope you will do the same.
The Ada Initiative does important work supporting women in a broad range of technology fields through the development of codes of conduct, anti-harassment policies, advocacy, and education. Their model anti-harassment policy is the basis for the ACM's, and their work informs much of what we are working on in the Haskell.org committee to improve the inclusiveness of Haskell specifically.
The Ada Initiative does valuable work worth supporting. Every month I donate $32, and for this challenge will be donating an additional $128. Join me in reaching for that
$4096$8192 goal (powers of two, y'all!): https://adainitiative.org/donate/?
The ACM has done well to adopt an anti-harassment policy, but to have impact it must be consistently supported and publicized along with their conferences. Join me in calling on them to do so:
And finally, as a functional programmer, you probably know at least 5 other people who have benefited from being part of such a weird and delightful community. Pass this challenge along to them and give them the chance to help us reach our goals. Let's make it happen!