Understanding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, And Taking Action

Kristina Gorr

By Kristina Gorr | Aug. 14, 2020 | Mozilla Festival

For the last few months, we’ve been listening, learning and making plans. Mozilla is committed to a diverse, inclusive and equitable festival, so we must be vigilant in our pursuit and creation of such a community.

Amidst the covid pandemic and a global spotlight on racial injustice calling for social change, we’ve been planning different scenarios with the wellness and safety of our community in mind. We’ve gathered amazing digital inclusion work that is happening around the internet health movement. We’ve been holding interviews with people in Amsterdam, the festival’s new host city, to understand what is happening on the ground (more coming soon on those).

It feels of utmost importance to reflect on what diversity, inclusion, and equity actually mean, as each are often used interchangeably. Acknowledging the important differences of each is a baseline for accountable systemic change. To truly embody these values, both at MozFest and within the internet health community, we must understand and embrace each of them uniquely and enthusiastically.

Diversity

A small diverse group of people, including a person in a blue shirt (far left), a person with dark hair, a person wearing a dress shirt with a black sweater, and person with long, dark hair and a floral shirt (far right) standing together alongside a person in the Firefox mascot costume smiling at the camera at MozFest. Photo by Connor Ballard-Pateman from Mozilla Festival 2019

“Diversity is the representation of all our varied identities and differences (race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, tribe, caste, socio-economic status, thinking and communication styles, etc.), collectively and as individuals.”

Ford Foundation

Diversity requires a real invitation for people from a wide variety of backgrounds, lived experiences, and geographies to participate in and share their work. At MozFest, we’ve worked hard to bring more diversity into our Wrangler and Partner groups, but each year has come with different success rates. We are committed to ensuring our community well represents the far reaches of the globe:

  • Over the last ten years we welcomed 30,000 artists, activists, technologists, advocates, students, and journalists from 106 countries with the specific aim of ensuring we provide a space that represents all members of our community.
  • We also won a genderavenger award for diversity onstage in 2018. Our commitment to on-stage opportunities for all will continue.
  • We will be working hard to invite people from all across the internet health movement including activists, artists, civil actors, developers, journalists, librarians, researchers, scientists, and students from around the globe – centering voices often marginalized, especially in “tech.”
  • As we work towards enhancing our digital presence, we have translated our website into 4 languages including Frisian, an important language spoken in parts of the Netherlands.
  • A pathway will continue to be paved for our LGBTQ+ and Neurodivergent community to share their experiences and expertise at MozFest.
  • The festival team actively recruits and supports community leaders from underrepresented and marginalized communities, especially in our Wrangler recruitment program, to ensure that they are heard at the festival and in our online communities.
  • The Mozilla Festival will continue listening, learning, and implementing ways to improve on diversity throughout our events and in our community.

Equity

Two adults at a MozFest Youth Zone session help a young participant work on a computer project. Photo by Connor Ballard-Pateman at Mozilla Festival 2019.

“Equity seeks to ensure fair treatment, equality of opportunity, and fairness in access to information and resources for all.”

Ford Foundation

Without equity, diversity is ineffective.

Mozilla regularly updates its Community Participation Guidelines. The Mozilla Festival respects these guidelines and actively holds our staff, volunteers, and community accountable to them.

  • We are also committed to ensuring equal opportunity to facilitate and attend our festival by offering stipends to people from underrepresented communities and people with lesser financial means.
  • As we move much of our festival online, we are committed to providing platforms that allow facilitators to host sessions and participants to join us live or participate asynchronously no matter where they are in the world or how they are accessing the internet.
  • We will continue to support our parents and guardians to participate online and are exploring how to ensure parents feel supported to participate in the event and be a parent at the same time.
  • Reviews are also underway regarding how we can support more grassroot communities through funding and grants.
  • The MozFest team recognizes the importance of equity and is committed to continuous self-evaluation to ensure equity is always at the fore of our work.

Inclusion

A panel of four speakers on stage in the background, with a person raising their hand in the foreground. Speaker Panel at MozFest 2019. Photo by Connor Ballard-Pateman

“Inclusion builds a culture of belonging by actively inviting the contribution and participation of all people.”

Ford Foundation

We welcome everyone committed to our shared goals of building a caring and just online culture, a healthier internet, and AI that benefits people instead of harming them. We are committed to ensuring that each part of MozFest – from our Call for Proposals to the festival itself – is as open and accessible as possible.

  • All community volunteers who help plan or execute the festival are recruited, supported, and trained from around the world and different parts of the internet health movement.
  • Audio and video submissions are welcome in Call for Proposals submissions.
  • Coaching and support through our online Slack community and upcoming community calls will be available for anyone who would like to submit a proposal to MozFest.
  • All selected Facilitators will be coached on how to design and deliver a participatory, accessible, and inclusive session.
  • We're developing a Volunteer Cookbook to document best practices that help festival Volunteers continue their work to welcome everyone to MozFest.
  • We’re identifying best practices for both high- and low-bandwidth participation in online events to improve the accessibility of MozFest’s virtual pieces.
  • Free tickets are available for our in-person events for aides working with disabled people and for parents of youth participating as Facilitators or Wranglers.
  • Festival locations are fully compliant with accessibility regulations and that have toilets that are or can be non-gendered.
  • Prayer rooms and quiet rooms are readily available to anyone for their specific needs.
  • Mozilla regularly updates its Community Participation Guidelines. The Mozilla Festival respects these guidelines and actively holds our staff, volunteers, and community accountable to them.

To keep up to date with the latest Mozilla Festival news and our progress towards our commitments, sign up for our newsletter.

Committing To Learn And Take Action For Long Term Change

Diversity and inclusion will not be something we talk about now but will fade into the background in the future. We are committed to continuously listening, improving, and adjusting our work to ensure we are a community of digital rights activists that collaborate without fear or segregation.

Together with our community, we’ve co-curated a list of resources that promote understanding and inspire action. We encourage you to carve out time to dive into these, or bookmark them for another time in the next couple of weeks, to learn more and implement diversity, inclusion, and equity in your own work and local community.

Note that these resources are not created by Mozilla, but are community resources shared here for further exploration.

  • Racial Equity Tools: “Racial Equity Tools is designed to support individuals and groups working to achieve racial equity. This site offers tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas for people who want to increase their own understanding and to help those working toward justice at every level – in systems, organizations, communities and the culture at large.”
  • Neurodiversity “School of the Gifted” MozFest 2019 Session Materials: “The session aimed to raise awareness about Neurodiversities and was designed to help people identify their special skills and interests. It can easily be adapted to other subjects and populations if required.”
  • Tech Girls Challenge: “We launched a global challenge at MozFest 2019 to help spread the internet health movement to underrepresented youth, especially girls.”
  • Diversity and Open Source Software Sustainability: “There are very few women and minorities contributing to open source software development. Does this affect software success and sustainability? The goal of this project is to work with open source contributors and scientists to understand the effects of a diverse, inclusive group of contributors on open source software development, so open source projects and project leads can improve their communities and build robust software”
  • Open Source Diversity:Open Source programs, projects, tutorials, and other resources to promote more diversity & inclusion in free & open source software communities”
  • Privacy, Identity, and Gender Online: “A talk from MozFest 2018 by Soudeh Rad, president of Feminist Spectrum, a Paris-based nonprofit working on gender equality and education.”
  • Tech Has an Inclusion Problem: “A talk from MozFest 2018 by Nathalie Richards, co-founder of EduKit.”
  • Open Computational Inclusion and Digital Equity Resource (OpenCider): “OpenCIDER (Open Computational Inclusion and Digital Equity Resource) offers a space for sharing knowledge, advice, good practices, workflows and tools to facilitate computational training and big data analysis. We focus on supporting diverse communities of researchers from varied backgrounds by providing fair access to knowledge to encourage global participation and enhance digital equity by promoting open data practices.”
  • The NumFOCUS DISCOVER Cookbook: “This cookbook is intended as a resource for organizers of conferences and events to support and encourage diversity and inclusion at those events. This cookbook is not intended to provide general instructions on how to run a successful conference or event.”
  • Comprehensive Resource Bank from The Digital Library Federation's Committee for Equity and Inclusion: This resource bank includes everything from active bystander tips to approaching difficult conversations to gender inclusion, implicit bias and more.
  • Rising Voices: “Rising Voices, the outreach initiative of Global Voices, aims to help bring new voices from new communities and speaking endangered or indigenous languages to the global conversation by providing training, resources, microgrant funding, and mentoring to local underrepresented communities that want to tell their own digital story using participatory media tools.”

Do you have diversity, inclusion, or equity resources to share? Upload them to Mozilla Pulse to share with the internet health community.

Interested in helping support diversity and inclusion efforts at MozFest through sponsorship? If so, contact Jesse W for more information.