Announcing the Empowermentors Collective: a group for women of color and queer people of color

This has been cross-posted at the Free Software Foundation blog here.

The Empowermentors Collective is a new space by and for women of color and queer people of color within free software and free culture.

We recognize the need to address deep-seated cultural norms within the free software and free culture communities which, under the guise of openness, have excused and perpetuated alienating behavior. It is imperative that we acknowledge that there are systemic structures of control embedded in our society which permeate our movement. Refusing to do so in an effort to compartmentalize and focus on our own goals is detrimental to our success. We cannot afford to be an isolated, inward-facing movement.

To expose and undo this culture of exclusion, we would like to support the recently established Empowermentors Collective, a community for intersectionally marginalized identities. This type of intentional space also opens up the potential for much needed coalition building and advances our own understanding of how technology and media are inseparable from our experiences and ourselves, our bodies.

As the description reads:

The Empowermentors Collective is a skillshare, activism, and discussion network by and for women of color and queer people of color. We are a group of community members with a strong commitment to furthering free software and free culture through an intersectionally marginalized lens and making a more welcoming space out of these communities. We therefore necessarily also work against and do not tolerate oppression in all its forms: ableism, racism, cissexism, heterosexism, sexism, classism, etc.

The Empowermentors Collective strives to be an affirming and safer space for people with disabilities, people of color, women, and people self-identified as queer or LGBT.

We are called Empowermentors because we focus on education and encourage participants to host workshops and skillshares geared towards intersectionally marginalized identities.

  • We maintain a safer space for marginalized identity groups.
  • We address issues of oppression within the free software and free culture communities.
  • We equip each other with skills and knowledge of free software and free culture.
  • We file, catalog, and help solve bugs related to race, gender, and accessibility in free software projects.
  • We take on mentorship positions and run targeted workshops, classes, and skillshares.

Students for Free Culture and the Free Software Foundation are proud to support this effort to identify, expose, and confront crucial issues within our communities; to bridge our movement with our contemporaries in the critical intersectional analysis of oppression, hierarchy, and domination; and to develop our own philosophy at the cutting-edge of feminist, queer, critical race, and cyborg theory.

If you are a woman of color or queer person of color in the free software or free culture community and are interested in being a part of the Empowermentors Collective, please join the mailing list and the #empowermentors IRC channel on freenode. If you are an ally to these issues, please help spread the word!

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