#135 Writing "Letter of Collaboration" to Fedora Council about Black Lives Matter statement from Fedora Leadership
Closed: stale a month ago by jflory7. Opened 10 months ago by jflory7.

Summary

The Fedora D&I Team writes a "Letter of Collaboration" to the Fedora Council to come forward and make a statement of support and action for Black Lives Matter on behalf of Fedora Leadership.

Background

In #fedora-diversity, we discussed the recent Black Lives Matter movement across the world over the last month. Many organizations have come forward to offer words of support and new commitments to action to improve inclusion of BIPOC people in their organizations. Red Hat has already made a statement internally to Red Hat employees in support of Black Lives Matter.

Fedora places the Friends Foundation as one of the Four Foundations of everything we do in Fedora. We also place First as another one of our Foundations. This is an opportunity for us, the Fedora D&I Team, and also Fedora Leadership, to introspect on our role in making the Fedora Community more accessible to minorities and BIPOC. Now is a powerful time to make a statement of support, and consider what commitments we can make to combine words with action.

(Credit for this original idea and discussion goes to @meskarune.)

Details

A Fedora Magazine article, not the Community Blog, should be the platform for this message.

We briefly discussed ideas of what actions could be. I think there is less an issue of whether we should take action, but more about how we should take action in a thoughtful, meaningful way. This is something we could discuss further and bring ideas. Alternatively, we could leave it open-ended to discuss these things with the Fedora Council as the D&I Team.

One idea would be to provide leadership support to the D&I Team's current effort on the Demographic Survey, detailed by @nasirhm in this mailing list thread.

Outcome

  • Fedora affirms its commitment to the Friends Foundation and is willing to step up and address our role in addressing racism and inadvertent discrimination in our own Community
  • People are more empowered to add their voice to these discussions in the Fedora Community without fear of harassment or verbal abuse

I would like to see an acknowledgement that anti-black racism exists and is a serious issue. It should also be said that Fedora has empathy and support for black contributors who are having a difficult time right now because of current events. There should be a list of resources that Fedora has available to empower black contributors and information on what Fedora is doing currently to address racism.

Another way to support marginalized people would be by reaching out and asking them how they feel about Fedora, what things have they found empowering, and what (if any) obstacles have they run into that could be improved. D&I demographic survey I think would also be a great way to see what the current state of the community is like.

Maybe there could be a list of actions that individual community members can choose to take to be actively anti-racist rather than simply going with the status quo. Being a good person does not by itself help reduce racism within our greater society.

Examples of individual actions include learning about microaggressions (one of the most common forms of racism), inviting black classmates and co-workers to tech groups/events as often as you invite people who look like you, learning about black history in tech, such as the contributions of Katherine G. Johnson and Valerie Taylor, having discussions about racism within your social circles, reading works by black authors, etc. Anti-racism work cannot be done passively. Racism exists, and since it exists, taking action to remove it from society is the only way to a world without racism.

edit: Here is a document about microaggressions: https://www.sph.umn.edu/site/docs/hewg/microaggressions.pdf

I believe that it's nice for the Diversity team to speak up about the current global situation, however, there are a few things to consider: (I'll paraphrase myself from diversity-irc)

  • groups like black lives matter have an important message, but they are not the only cause doing activism right now, just the one under the focus.
  • We will support our team members while they defend their rights, as long as they keep attach to our CoC. But activism on each cause is a personal thing, not an organizational task.
  • Probably will be the only one to say this, personally I'm in favor of protesting for BLM rights, but I'm against the wave of violence that has started, so I just ask for caring for the words that are used. We should never support violence, not even to reinforce a valid point.
  • Ticket was discussed at Mindshare meeting, and we asked everyone opinion on this. If you want a Fedora Leadership statement, then all board should agree with what's discussed here.

I believe that it's nice for the Diversity team to speak up about the current global situation, however, there are a few things to consider: (I'll paraphrase myself from diversity-irc)

groups like black lives matter have an important message, but they are not the only cause doing activism right now, just the one under the focus.

The "but" seems to be irrelevant here since this ticket is about black lives and other topics can be discussed in their ticket.

We will support our team members while they defend their rights, as long as they keep attach to our CoC. But activism on each cause is a personal thing, not an organizational task.

Since this ticket is about supporting black lives and not about supporting CoC violations, this seems to be off-topic, too. Also Fedora seemed to have supported specific causes in the past. Not sure, what exactly you mean with "activism on each cause is not an organizational task".

Probably will be the only one to say this, personally I'm in favor of protesting for BLM rights, but I'm against the wave of violence that has started, so I just ask for caring for the words that are used. We should never support violence, not even to reinforce a valid point.

The black lives matter movement seems to be an initiative against violence. A statement against police violence or other violence in general could be a different topic.

Ticket was discussed at Mindshare meeting, and we asked everyone opinion on this. If you want a Fedora Leadership statement, then all board should agree with what's discussed here.

In my opinion, a statement about black lives should contain:

  • Fedora supports black lives
  • Fedora acknowledges that it needs to improve its support
  • TBD: some specific action to improve

@till 's response all I could hope/think to write.
+1 for a statement (and possible actions Fedora would be taking to ensure the equality/safe place in community*)

*Don't mean to say Fedora is not a safe place.. I am saying what other than just the statement that Fedora would be doing.

@till
In my opinion, a statement about black lives should contain:

Fedora supports black lives
Fedora acknowledges that it needs to improve its support

Careful here. Sounds like if there are issues inside Fedora that have not been taking care of (talking about BLM) which AFAIK, are not. We have a Diversity & Inclusion team that works hard to ensure everyone feels welcomed, and that should be our message.

TBD: some specific action to improve

@tatica, can you clarify specifically what you mean about issues inside of Fedora that have not been taken care of? Those are the things that we could show as specific actions.

Supporting #BLM does not mean that we aren't wholly inclusive. It means that we support that movement to forward equality, which imo Fedora's ideals line up with entirely.

@till
In my opinion, a statement about black lives should contain:
Fedora supports black lives
Fedora acknowledges that it needs to improve its support

Careful here. Sounds like if there are issues inside Fedora that have not been taking care of (talking about BLM) which AFAIK, are not. We have a Diversity & Inclusion team that works hard to ensure everyone feels welcomed, and that should be our message.

Using "master" for the main GIT branch is considered to be problematic language which might be one issue that is not taken care of. Also, it might be that there are no black persons in any elected committee, which could be a seen as another issue. Also, it is rarely the case that something is 100% perfect and by acknowledging this, more people might speak up with other issues. But maybe the overall number of black persons in Fedora is already too small that there is also no insight in why this is the case/what the actual issues are. It could also be that we are/were not participating enough in respective communities/conferences.

@till
In my opinion, a statement about black lives should contain:
Fedora supports black lives
Fedora acknowledges that it needs to improve its support

Careful here. Sounds like if there are issues inside Fedora that have not been taking care of (talking about BLM) which AFAIK, are not. We have a Diversity & Inclusion team that works hard to ensure everyone feels welcomed, and that should be our message.

One more thing on this, is that we do not welcome racists, sexists, or transphobics. So technically not all people are welcome. I believe making a statement on #BLM could alienate people who are racist, and that is perfectly okay. Racism is not tolerated in Fedora.

TBD: some specific action to improve

One more thing on this, is that we do not welcome racists, sexists, or transphobics. So technically not all people are welcome. I believe making a statement on #BLM could alienate people who are racist, and that is perfectly okay. Racism is not tolerated in Fedora.

Interesting topic. For issue 125, I was also thinking about this. For myself, I came to the conclusion, that we actually welcome everyone. We do not welcome racist/sexist/transphobic behavior and expect everyone to follow the code of conduct. This might still have the same outcome, though. What do you think?

@tatica, can you clarify specifically what you mean about issues inside of Fedora that have not been taken care of? Those are the things that we could show as specific actions.

@riecatnor I mean quite the oposite. There are no current issues open AFAIK, so that sounded like issues we don't experience right now (or at least, people haven't spoken of)

@till We do not welcome racist/sexist/transphobic behavior and expect everyone to follow the code of conduct. This might still have the same outcome, though. What do you think?

Exactly. I see it more like : "our CoC excludes people who have racist/sexist/transphobic attitudes and works everyday on provide a safe and welcoming environment "

@till Also, it might be that there are no black persons in any elected committee, which could be a seen as another issue.

@x3mboy is not particularly white, and I'm a latinamerican female. Diversity is formed mostly by Indian people, and we have several black people at important roles inside Fedora (mostly on the infra side and not the community-boards) so honestly, I think we are doing perfectly fine.

@x3mboy is not particularly white, and I'm a latinamerican female. Diversity is formed mostly by Indian people, and we have several black people at important roles inside Fedora (mostly on the infra side and not the community-boards) so honestly, I think we are doing perfectly fine.

This issue is bringing up all the interesting questions I had. Since Fedora is a global project, I wondered what a fair metric would be in this case. For me, it seems it would be more fair to check this based on a country-level, for example does the diversity of the contributors from the USA reflect the diversity of inhabitants of the USA?

@till This issue is bringing up all the interesting questions I had. Since Fedora is a global project, I wondered what a fair metric would be in this case. For me, it seems it would be more fair to check this based on a country-level, for example does the diversity of the contributors from the USA reflect the diversity of inhabitants of the USA?

That's really interesting, specially in countries with a really diverse ethnicity. Just look at USA. One of the most populated countries in the world with a really diverse world of data. Or look for example my country, a small LATAM country where half population has similar ethnics, but the migrant population we received during the spanish conquer and large amount of slaves in 1800's + the amount of Europeans that came after WWII made us be very very varied country. It's hard, but those are some nice statistics to count someday.

My only concern brings an old issue, which is the surveys. I remembered a couple of years ago we tried to do several, and RH said we couldn't. Is that something still on the table (legal speaking)? I'm sure that having a good world of individual data would give us some interesting diversity numbers to explore and analyze.

I think the discussion is starting to get away from the topic: a short letter requesting that the fedora council make a statement about racism against black people and offer of support to black members of the community who may be having a hard time right now. Could a plan be made for such a letter to get written with a time frame for it being sent?

@x3mboy is not particularly white, and I'm a latinamerican female. Diversity is formed mostly by Indian people, and we have several black people at important roles inside Fedora (mostly on the infra side and not the community-boards) so honestly, I think we are doing perfectly fine.

So diversity (especially around BLM since that's what we are talking about) is white vs nonwhite?
I am Indian and you mentioned that diversity is formed mostly by Indian people. it doesn't make sense to me that "diversity" is formed mostly by people of 1 country. I work in and around Fedora Infra and most of the people I know are white (nothing against them, love them to death) but just pointing that I have not met a black person in Infra (you mentioned several). There are only a couple of infra participants on a daily level whose nick I can identify but don't know their name/face/background. Even if all of them happened to be people of color, I think we are not doing perfectly fine! it's not because we are not welcoming but just that we need more outreach in other places.

And this ticket is not about seeing if we are diverse enough but about showing support to the ongoing movement.

@jflory7 @meskarune Hey folks, we discussed this in today's Council meeting. The Council is in favour of creating a statement in support of Black Lives Matter. There is a bit of confusion of who the letter is coming from and going to. If this is requesting one, or two statements being made. If we want to make a public statement, the Council is leaning towards it being made from the D&I team and the Council jointly. We ask that you clarify a bit, and also provide a draft of said letters.

Thanks

@riecatnor:
If we want to make a public statement, the Council is leaning towards it being made from the D&I team and the Council jointly.

A joint statement makes great sense to me. Making two statements is confusing and off-putting. I am +1 for a single letter. That was my intent in opening this ticket.

Originally, I opened this ticket to have a more local discussion with the D&I team on how to approach this issue, but it became way more visible than I originally anticipated. If the Council is on-board too, then my purpose in opening this ticket is obsolete. :smile:

@riecatnor:
We ask that you clarify a bit, and also provide a draft of said letters.

Speaking for myself, I do not have enough personal bandwidth to give this the emotional energy and attention it deserves. I am leaning on someone else to lead the effort of drafting a letter to the Fedora Community (which I think is who this topic is really addressed to).

However I am happy to proof-read any draft text that is put together.

Here is a proposal for a possible communiqué, to move things forward:


We, the Fedora project supports black lives. Anyone who does not support diversity and inclusion, does not belong in the Fedora project. Diversity and inclusion is one of the foundations of our project.

To show our support and to improve the situation in the Fedora project, we will

  • Financially sponsor 10 Outreachy internships and delegate the selection of students and projects to $TBD_organization to use the means to Fedora or its upstream projects where they see it most important to empower black lives
  • Invest in $TBD_organization to provide trainings and consultation for the Fedora project and our diversity and inclusion team to identify and rectify issues in our support for black lives
  • Make Diversity and Inclusion a Fedora objective, to ensure that all our committees take diversity and inclusion under special consideration and improve guidelines and procedures as necessary.

As a reminder, the Fedora Project envisions a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities.


Not sure, which organization would be a good fit and if it should be the same organization for both items. Any suggestions?

What do you think?

Hi folks!

Sorry for the delay in responding. @Till your draft is a great start. I feel it needs more heart, more understanding for the trials we are enduring at this time. Please see draft below, looking forward to feedback.

Dear Fedora Friends,

We are writing this letter to express our sincere care and support of each one of you. Due to COVID-19, the past four months have been frustrating and challenging. We know that each person is battling their own personal struggles, and we know firsthand that maintaining some kind of balance amid the chaos is a massive test of strength.

The upheaval of our routines and our lives has brought on many emotions. To name a few: grief, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability. And as “Fedora is people,” the unfortunate truth is that these emotions have worked their way into our community in unexpected ways. We implore our Fedora Friends to keep this in mind: to reflect, to treat each other with kindness, and to give grace to others and yourself.

Amidst the stressors of COVID-19, we are now having a global conversation around human equality. We are witnessing things that seem almost unfathomable. Folks might say “this letter is political,” but we challenge those folks to see that any sociological issue will be identified as political. This topic is not inherently political. We are focusing on basic human empathy.

This conversation has and will continue to bleed into the Fedora community. We recognize that each person has their own struggle, no matter their background. We realize that it can be incredibly difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, though we urge you to do just that. Listen to each other, and most importantly, believe someone when they share their painful experiences.

We, the Fedora Project, support Black lives. This is not exclusionary of the support we strive to give to all our community members. It means Black Lives Matter is the current focus, the current issue to tackle, and we support the mission to create a more equitable world for Black lives. We believe creating equality for Black lives will raise awareness around the various and particular sociological challenges native to our home countries.

Our desire is to participate in creating real, lasting change to support Black lives. We have participated in the Outreachy program since 2013 in an attempt to help Fedora grow into a more inclusive and diverse community. In an effort to support Black Lives Matter and people of color we are making a donation of XYZ to fund XYZ Outreachy internships. This is something that benefits minority communities, as well as the greater open source community.


As always, please remember:
The Fedora Project envisions a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities.


Stay strong, Fedora Friends. We love you <3


Fedora’s Diversity & Inclusion Team and the Fedora Council

@riecatnor I think this is great. I have two pieces of feedback:

  1. The support statement for Black Lives Matter should be the first thing in the letter. This is the main idea, this is the purpose of the letter, so it should be the very first thing addressed. Right now, it is buried in the body of the text.
  2. A technical writing tip, I would organize the commitments Fedora is making into a bulletpoint list. It makes the content easier to read instead of blending in as a paragraph of text. Normally I would write this off as personal preference, but I think it is important to be very clear that Fedora is taking action on these issues. We want that to stand out and be clear, so this is not interpreted as support in not just words, but also action (which is the case—just want it to stand out and be clear).

@jflory7 thanks for the review! Here are some thoughts.

  1. I tend to disagree. I would (personally) not start a letter with a statement as strong as that to someone I care for. If I have learned nothing else over the past month or so, is that this is a controversial topic for Fedorans. I think writing with that in mind, writing to our base, is extremely important. For example there exists a swath of people who are white who have been severely oppressed by their government, etc, and can hardly wrap their heads around this movement. Reading that first thing could bring a lot of dismissal, without getting to the heart of the letter. To begin with empathy and compassion leads folks into the statement about BLM in a way in which they also feel understood.
    I know you would like for it to be strong as heck. I am not sure that is the right approach. I think this is if anything more effective to bring folks on board with community support for BLM. WDYT?
  2. Sure! After I get some more feedback, I will add this into the next draft.

Metadata Update from @riecatnor:
- Issue untagged with: new change, type - outreach

9 months ago

@jflory7 thanks for the review! Here are some thoughts.

I tend to disagree. I would (personally) not start a letter with a statement as strong as that to someone I care for. If I have learned nothing else over the past month or so, is that this is a controversial topic for Fedorans. I think writing with that in mind, writing to our base, is extremely important. For example there exists a swath of people who are white who have been severely oppressed by their government, etc, and can hardly wrap their heads around this movement. Reading that first thing could bring a lot of dismissal, without getting to the heart of the letter. To begin with empathy and compassion leads folks into the statement about BLM in a way in which they also feel understood.

I agree with @jflory7. The draft seems to be too long and to me it reads as "many words, little action" even though there is some action mentioned at the end. My first google result contains some guidelines for press releases that I learned before as well:

https://www.startupdonut.co.uk/sales-and-marketing/promote-your-business/the-10-golden-rules-of-writing-press-releases

One of those rules is:
4. Convey the key facts in your first paragraph
Use 100 words maximum to explain who you are, what you're announcing, where it is taking place, when it's happening, possibly why and how. Answering each of these questions enables you to communicate the story's key facts. Treat this part as you would your elevator pitch.

I know you would like for it to be strong as heck. I am not sure that is the right approach. I think this is if anything more effective to bring folks on board with community support for BLM. WDYT?

This seem to be different intentions than what was requested originally. From what I understood the intent was to have a message from Fedora Leadership to the world to state that black lives matter. It was not meant as a message to the Fedora community to convince them that they do.

Also, I do not get why a statement in support of black lives needs to be justified by mentioning that other people might have other problems. We announced support for other events without any extra justificiation. For example:

| Black Lives Day (BLD) is a day to celebrate and bring visibility to black
| contributors in open source projects, including Fedora. This event is headed by
| Fedora’s Diversity and Inclusion Team.
|
| During the month of August, in collaboration with other open source
| communities, black people in tech groups and hacker spaces, we plan to organize
| community meetups and events around the world to highlight and celebrate the
| black people in open source communities like Fedora and their invaluable
| contributions to their projects and community.
|
| These events also provide a good opportunity for black people worldwide to
| learn about free and open source software and jump start their journey as a
| FOSS user and/or a contributor. They also provide a platform for black people
| to connect, learn and be inspired by other black people in open source
| communities and beyond.

Thank You @riecatnor for putting in the effort to write the draft.

@jflory7 thanks for the review! Here are some thoughts.
I tend to disagree. I would (personally) not start a letter with a statement as strong as that to someone I care for. If I have learned nothing else over the past month or so, is that this is a controversial topic for Fedorans. I think writing with that in mind, writing to our base, is extremely important. For example there exists a swath of people who are white who have been severely oppressed by their government, etc, and can hardly wrap their heads around this movement. Reading that first thing could bring a lot of dismissal, without getting to the heart of the letter. To begin with empathy and compassion leads folks into the statement about BLM in a way in which they also feel understood.

I agree with @jflory7. The draft seems to be too long and to me it reads as "many words, little action" even though there is some action mentioned at the end. My first google result contains some guidelines for press releases that I learned before as well:
https://www.startupdonut.co.uk/sales-and-marketing/promote-your-business/the-10-golden-rules-of-writing-press-releases
One of those rules is:
4. Convey the key facts in your first paragraph
Use 100 words maximum to explain who you are, what you're announcing, where it is taking place, when it's happening, possibly why and how. Answering each of these questions enables you to communicate the story's key facts. Treat this part as you would your elevator pitch.

I agree with @till and @jflory7 here on minimizing the length of the letter as currently it's too long for one to actually read without loosing their attention span.

By the way: I've been a little short on commentary and participation here not because I don't care, but because I'm looking into some concrete actions we could pair with this. More later.

I don't think it's too long. I like the content, but agree with @jflory7's suggestions on rearranging it a bit.

@riecatnor, I loved the letter. While reading, it felt personal and I really appreciated that.
Although it hadn't crossed my mind, @jflory7 and @till's points are correct as well.

So, why can't we have both?
The first message with the straight forward message without getting sidetracked and then followed by this letter.

I see the follow-up letter targeted towards the community member and the people who are not able to see why/how this may impact the project and society for good, and why this matter.. which is necessary to avoid that gnome faced for no reasons

We could come up strong that if you don't agree with the statement, we don't need you in the project (trust me I have thought this line way too many times), or take into consideration that not everyone has faced/seen/experienced similar things and may not be able to get the same sentiment.
This letter might fix that

Hey folks, I have made revisions and created a second draft. Looking forward to your thoughts.

Statement

We, the Fedora Project, support Black lives. Diversity and inclusion is part of the Foundations of Fedora. This is not exclusionary of the support we strive to give to all our community members. It means Black Lives Matter is the current focus, the current issue to tackle, and we support the mission to create a more equitable world for Black lives.

Our desire is to participate in creating real, lasting change to support Black lives. We have participated in the Outreachy program since 2013 in an attempt to help Fedora grow into a more inclusive and diverse community. In an effort to support Black Lives Matter and people of color we are:
- Making a donation of XYZ to fund XYZ Outreachy internships. This is something that benefits minority communities, as well as the greater open source community.
- Working to establish Fedora’s participation in other programs to promote Black lives and diversity in our community. These efforts take time and organization on the parts of our leadership.

Letter

Dear Fedora Friends,

We are writing this letter to express our sincere care and support of each one of you. Due to COVID-19, the past four months have been frustrating and challenging. We know that each person is battling their own personal struggles, and we know firsthand that maintaining some kind of balance amid the chaos is a massive test of strength.

The upheaval of our routines and our lives has brought on many emotions. To name a few: grief, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability. And as “Fedora is people,” the unfortunate truth is that these emotions have worked their way into our community in unexpected ways. We implore our Fedora Friends to keep this in mind: to reflect, to treat each other with kindness, and to give grace to others and yourself.

Amidst the stressors of COVID-19, we are now having a global conversation around human equality. We are witnessing things that seem almost unfathomable. Folks might say “this post is political,” but we challenge those folks to see that any sociological issue will be identified as political. This topic is not inherently political. We are focusing on basic human empathy.

This conversation has and will continue to bleed into the Fedora community. We recognize that each person has their own struggle, no matter their background. We realize that it can be incredibly difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, though we urge you to do just that. Listen to each other, and most importantly, believe someone when they share their painful experiences. We believe creating equality for Black lives will raise awareness around the various and particular sociological challenges native to eachof our home countries.

As always, please remember:
The Fedora Project envisions a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities.

Stay strong, Fedora Friends. We love you <3
Fedora’s Diversity & Inclusion Team and the Fedora Council

I'm confused by this change. What's the intent into splitting this into a "statement" and a "letter"? Do they have different audiences? Different venues?

I revised based on feedback. I can remove the titles if that is an issue

Ah, I understand. My feedback (and as I understood Justin's) was to reorder within the letter. So taking what you have:

Dear Fedora Friends,
{{ statement }}
{{ letter }}
Hearts, rainbows, etc

(With some edits for flow, etc). In re-reading I wonder if we should leave out the COVID-19 references, or at least decrease their weight. I feel like it distracts from the message a bit. We have Matthew's Magazine article to fall back on w/r/t COVID-19, so we should keep the focus on Black lives matter.

Quick edit to get roughly at what I'm trying to say:

Dear Fedora Friends,

The Fedora Project supports Black lives. Diversity and inclusion is part of the Foundations of Fedora. This is not exclusionary of the support we strive to give to all our community members. It means Black Lives Matter is the current focus, the current issue to tackle, and we support the mission to create a more equitable world for Black lives.

Our desire is to participate in creating real, lasting change to support Black lives. We have participated in the Outreachy program since 2013 in an attempt to help Fedora grow into a more inclusive and diverse community. In an effort to support Black Lives Matter and people of color we are:
- Making a donation of XYZ to fund XYZ Outreachy internships. This is something that benefits minority communities, as well as the greater open source community.
- Working to establish Fedora’s participation in other programs to promote Black lives and diversity in our community. These efforts take time and organization on the parts of our leadership.

Amidst the stressors of COVID-19, we are now having a global conversation around human equality. We are witnessing things that seem almost unfathomable. Folks might say “this post is political,” but we challenge those folks to see that any sociological issue will be identified as political. This topic is not inherently political. We are focusing on basic human empathy.

This conversation has and will continue to bleed into the Fedora community. We recognize that each person has their own struggle, no matter their background. We realize that it can be incredibly difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, though we urge you to do just that. Listen to each other, and most importantly, believe someone when they share their painful experiences. We believe creating equality for Black lives will raise awareness around the various and particular sociological challenges native to each of our home countries.

The upheaval of our routines and our lives has brought on many emotions. To name a few: grief, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability. And as “Fedora is people,” the unfortunate truth is that these emotions have worked their way into our community in unexpected ways. We implore our Fedora Friends to keep this in mind: to reflect, to treat each other with kindness, and to give grace to others and yourself.

As always, please remember:
The Fedora Project envisions a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities.

Stay strong, Fedora Friends. We love you <3
Fedora’s Diversity & Inclusion Team and the Fedora Council

Thank you, here are my remarks and some re-arrangement.
In my opinion it is still strange to justify this, since for example the covid blog post does not add extra justitification for people who might suffer from other problems than Covid. Also, most of the content is not about the black lives support but about justification and Covid. It is also lacking an acknowledgement that Fedora still has problems in this area. Which is highlighted by the reluctance of writing about the support for BLM without qualifying it.

By moving the justification after the actual message, it would be a little bit better:

Dear Fedora Friends,

Just realized that the message should not be targeted only at Fedora Friends but at everyone IMHO. The justification could be targeted at Fedora Friends.

The Fedora Project supports Black lives. Diversity and inclusion is part of the Foundations of Fedora.
Our desire is to participate in creating real, lasting change to support black lives. In an effort to support Black Lives Matter and people of color we are:
- Making a donation of XYZ to fund XYZ Outreachy internships. This is something that benefits minority communities, as well as the greater open source community.
- Working to establish Fedora’s participation in other programs to promote Black lives and diversity in our community. These efforts take time and organization on the parts of our leadership.

This is the justification that might be added here but might also be a better stock response in case someone actually objects our support..

This is not exclusionary of the support we strive to give to all our community members. It means Black Lives Matter is the current focus, the current issue to tackle, and we support the mission to create a more equitable world for Black lives. We have participated in the Outreachy program since 2013 in an attempt to help Fedora grow into a more inclusive and diverse community.

IMHO, this could be removed or only be sent to the community members that are against supporting BLM.

Amidst the stressors of COVID-19, we are now having a global conversation around human equality. We are witnessing things that seem almost unfathomable. Folks might say “this post is political,” but we challenge those folks to see that any sociological issue will be identified as political. This topic is not inherently political. We are focusing on basic human empathy.
This conversation has and will continue to bleed into the Fedora community. We recognize that each person has their own struggle, no matter their background. We realize that it can be incredibly difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, though we urge you to do just that. Listen to each other, and most importantly, believe someone when they share their painful experiences. We believe creating equality for Black lives will raise awareness around the various and particular sociological challenges native to each of our home countries.
The upheaval of our routines and our lives has brought on many emotions. To name a few: grief, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability. And as “Fedora is people,” the unfortunate truth is that these emotions have worked their way into our community in unexpected ways. We implore our Fedora Friends to keep this in mind: to reflect, to treat each other with kindness, and to give grace to others and yourself.

The end is ok in my opinion:

As always, please remember:
The Fedora Project envisions a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities.
Stay strong, Fedora Friends. We love you <3
Fedora’s Diversity & Inclusion Team and the Fedora Council

I had the same initial thought as @bcotton and his revised draft looks good to me.

@till wrote…

Letter body:
This is not exclusionary of the support we strive to give to all our community members. It means Black Lives Matter is the current focus, the current issue to tackle, and we support the mission to create a more equitable world for Black lives. We have participated in the Outreachy program since 2013 in an attempt to help Fedora grow into a more inclusive and diverse community.

[…]

IMHO, this could be removed or only be sent to the community members that are against supporting BLM.

I had the same thought. I think these paragraphs should be removed. However, it can still be used as contextual justification to any vocal opposition to this letter. (Which is an inevitable outcome, because Fedora is not immune to the historically racist and misogynist niches that exist in the wider Linux technology community.)

The overall response in this ticket from the Community makes me feel this statement is not unexpected, controversial, or surprising to people who are deeply embedded in the Fedora Community.

Metadata Update from @jflory7:
- Issue assigned to riecatnor
- Issue tagged with: needs feedback, new change, type - Community Blog, type - outreach

9 months ago

Hey folks! Based on feedback, I am dropping a new draft here. Please provide feedback, thanks!

Statement
The Fedora Project supports Black lives. Diversity and inclusion is part of the Foundations of Fedora. Our desire is to participate in creating real, lasting change to support black lives.

In an effort to support Black Lives Matter and people of color we are:
- Making a donation of XYZ to fund XYZ Outreachy internships. This is something that benefits minority communities, as well as the greater open source community.
- Working to establish Fedora’s participation in other programs to promote Black lives and diversity in our community. These efforts take time and organization on the parts of our leadership.

This is not exclusionary of the support we strive to give to all our community members. It means Black Lives Matter is the current focus, the current issue to tackle, and we support the mission to create a more equitable world for Black lives.

As always, please remember:
The Fedora Project envisions a world where everyone benefits from free and open source software built by inclusive, welcoming, and open-minded communities.

Fedora’s Diversity & Inclusion Team and the Fedora Council

Hi @riecatnor I went through all the comments and the draft you created after considering the overall feedback. Great job done and very well written. Thanks for doing it.

I have only one minor question * As you highlighted Outreachy internships in this letter and this letter is purely focused on Black Lives Matter. Will not it paint a false picture that Outreachy internships is only for Black?*
Whereas, it is highlighted that " This is something that benefits minority communities", it makes it very generic and not only limited to Black. Do you think, we can be more specific here in terms of numbers etc, just to make sure we are communicating correct information?

Just a thought, but I loved the rest of the content being very thoughtful, clear and short.
Thanks!

@riecatnor I am +1 to this draft. It is direct and to the point, and gets the message across clearly.

@amsharma That is not the first thought that comes to my mind (re: Outreachy being exclusive to B.I.P.O.C.). But admittedly, I am biased as I have participated and helped organize past Outreachy internships. Curious if others feel similarly.

Metadata Update from @jflory7:
- Issue untagged with: needs feedback
- Issue priority set to: waiting on assignee (was: needs review)

8 months ago

Has the letter been posted? It looks good to go.

Hi folks. Apologies for the delay, my time was taken by Nest. Circling back around, I have some updates here. The Council took a look at this statement at a virtual F2F just before Nest. They would like to see a new draft based on the discussion that took place. This is on my to do list, please be patient, I will get one up asap.

Hi, following up on this ticket. If we are going to get this out, we should do it this month. I think if we wait until October, there is a chance this will get wrapped up into the context of U.S. politics, with the election coming up.

Hi all, an update is overdue here. For transparency, I am going to share the following:

  • What was happening behind the scenes
  • What we will do
  • Why we made this decision

Behind the scenes

In October, I volunteered to carry this out as D&I Advisor on the Council. @riecatnor passed the baton to me, and I began reviewing my notes from Council discussions and looking at the existing public discussion on this ticket. I also read a blog post from @tatica. The public, private, and community commentary were sometimes aligned and sometimes conflicting. I want to acknowledge these perspectives were deliberately considered in making this decision.

What we will do

We will not publish a Community Blog post specifically addressing Black Lives Matter, but instead reaffirm our previous, ongoing, and future work to make Fedora an inclusive community, particularly in awareness to needs of the Black community.

I will write a Community Blog post this weekend that summarizes this discussion and shines more light into how we arrived at this conclusion.

Why we made this decision

This will be better explained in the Community Blog post. But I want to share some key points quickly here now.

  • International: Fedora is an international project with contributors on six continents. There are Fedora contributors who experience forms of police brutality in their home countries but the Open Source community has remained silent on these issues. Some contributors will see a letter about police brutality in the United States as hurtful when we have never spoken up for other contributors facing injustice in their home countries.
  • Education: Fedora is international, and so also multi-cultural. We accept that everyone is not unified on this issue especially outside of the United States. We believe for a public statement to be effective, we need to have resources ready to educate our community on why these issues matter to Fedora. Currently, we do not have these resources but we are in the process of exploring this with support of Red Hat.
  • Action, not words: The Fedora Council believes action is more powerful than words. We have taken past actions to support under-represented people in Open Source by participating in and/or sponsoring Outreachy and Rails Girls Summer of Code. We also acknowledge we can do more and are exploring partnerships inside Red Hat, with possible partnerships with existing teams in Red Hat to support HBCUs in the U.S.

I am keeping this ticket open until the CommBlog post publishes. When the CommBlog post publishes, I will close this ticket out. However, we know people will have thoughts and feelings about this topic. I encourage the discussion to continue on the council-discuss list starting Monday:

https://discussion.fedoraproject.org/t/missing-response-to-black-lives-matter-movement/24755

Metadata Update from @jflory7:
- Issue assigned to jflory7 (was: riecatnor)

5 months ago

Behind the scenes

In October, I volunteered to carry this out as D&I Advisor on the Council. @riecatnor passed the baton to me, and I began reviewing my notes from Council discussions and looking at the existing public discussion on this ticket. I also read a blog post from @tatica. The public, private, and community commentary were sometimes aligned and sometimes conflicting. I want to acknowledge these perspectives were deliberately considered in making this decision.

In my opinion, it is a big problem that this happened "behind the scenes" instead of visible in this ticket.

Why we made this decision

This will be better explained in the Community Blog post. But I want to share some key points quickly here now.

  • International: Fedora is an international project with contributors on six continents. There are Fedora contributors who experience forms of police brutality in their home countries but the Open Source community has remained silent on these issues. Some contributors will see a letter about police brutality in the United States as hurtful when we have never spoken up for other contributors facing injustice in their home countries.

The statement in https://pagure.io/fedora-diversity/issue/135#comment-667518 was not about police brutality. Also, discrimination against black persons seems to be an international problem.

  • Education: Fedora is international, and so also multi-cultural. We accept that everyone is not unified on this issue especially outside of the United States. We believe for a public statement to be effective, we need to have resources ready to educate our community on why these issues matter to Fedora. Currently, we do not have these resources but we are in the process of exploring this with support of Red Hat.

I will assume that you mean "discrimination against black people" as "this issue" because this is what was addressed in the statement that was worked on.

I disagree on the criteria for effectiveness of a public statement. For me, this statement was important to show discriminated people that Fedora is a safe space where they would be welcome. There is no need to educate the audience about the existence of the discrimination.

Regarding the education of the community that "discrimination against black people" is a problem for Fedora: Making such a statement is the first step do educate those in our community that do not believe this. Also, a statement about this from the leadership empowers those in the community that do already believe this and enable them to educate others.
The lack of a clear acknowledgement of this problem contributes to making people believe that discrimination against black people does not exist or that black people do not experience discrimination.

  • Action, not words: The Fedora Council believes action is more powerful than words. We have taken past actions to support under-represented people in Open Source by participating in and/or sponsoring Outreachy and Rails Girls Summer of Code. We also acknowledge we can do more and are exploring partnerships inside Red Hat, with possible partnerships with existing teams in Red Hat to support HBCUs in the U.S.

1) The problem here is that there was no action for several months
2) This is basically a summary of the statement from https://pagure.io/fedora-diversity/issue/135#comment-667518, therefore this contradicts that the statement cannot be used.

P.S.: I needed to google HBCU to understand what you mean with this acronym

Hi @till. Thank you for weighing in.

@till wrote:
In my opinion, it is a big problem that this happened "behind the scenes" instead of visible in this ticket.

I understand this feeling. It is tough to be open in a public space like Pagure about mental health and burnout though. I am curious for what better transparency and openness in this situation would look like to you.

Speaking for myself, I was challenged to both move this work forward in a transparent, accountable way and also not burn myself out. Ultimately I wanted to deliver something at the end.

@till wrote:
The statement in https://pagure.io/fedora-diversity/issue/135#comment-667518 was not about police brutality.

Black Lives Matter is not explicitly nor exclusively about police brutality, you're right. But in connection to its wider sociopolitical context, Black Lives Matter is linked to protest against unjust police brutality. I learned by listening to people who have similar but different experiences with police brutality. I noticed resistance from folks with lived experience in totalitarian and oppressive regimes and countries.

The reason why I cited the international example is because of specific feedback shared by non-Americans. I am also biased to American issues as an American citizen.

@till wrote:
I will assume that you mean "discrimination against black people" as "this issue" because this is what was addressed in the statement that was worked on.

Actually, no. I believe the Fedora Community is unified against discrimination of Black people.

The issue I meant is what "Black Lives Matter" means and how it is interpreted by Fedora Contributors outside of the United States. A confusion I noticed was this letter of support being an endorsement of a specific political organization, rather than a popular social movement. Our letter of support is not an endorsement of any political organization. It reaffirms Fedora's solidarity to the issues faced by people of color in the Fedora Community and acknowledges our role in being able to bring about change, at least in our corner of the Internet.

@till wrote:
There is no need to educate the audience about the existence of the discrimination.

We may have to agree to disagree here. I think the work of education and building bridges is often invisible community work. But I believe building bridges and understanding is an important part in building solidarity, which is needed on contemporary social issues like this.

@till wrote:
The lack of a clear acknowledgement of this problem contributes to making people believe that discrimination against black people does not exist or that black people do not experience discrimination.

Given the context in my reply, I am curious for your take on what proper acknowledgement of this problem looks like.

@till wrote:
In my opinion, it is a big problem that this happened "behind the scenes" instead of visible in this ticket.

I understand this feeling. It is tough to be open in a public space like Pagure about mental health and burnout though. I am curious for what better transparency and openness in this situation would look like to you.

There was a public discussion in this ticket that made it appear that there will be a statement. Several council members participated here and gave this impression. After a long time with sporadic updates, the latest update now states that there were non-public discussions/behind the scenes feedback which led to a new decision. This makes it seem to me that the non-public feedback is valued more than the public discussion in this ticket. This is what I see as a problem.

Speaking for myself, I was challenged to both move this work forward in a transparent, accountable way and also not burn myself out. Ultimately I wanted to deliver something at the end.

@till wrote:
The statement in https://pagure.io/fedora-diversity/issue/135#comment-667518 was not about police brutality.

Black Lives Matter is not explicitly nor exclusively about police brutality, you're right. But in connection to its wider sociopolitical context, Black Lives Matter is linked to protest against unjust police brutality. I learned by listening to people who have similar but different experiences with police brutality. I noticed resistance from folks with lived experience in totalitarian and oppressive regimes and countries.

The reason why I cited the international example is because of specific feedback shared by non-Americans. I am also biased to American issues as an American citizen.

The latest statement in this ticket started with "The Fedora Project supports Black lives. Diversity and inclusion is part of the Foundations of Fedora. Our desire is to participate in creating real, lasting change to support black lives." The beginning of the statement can be considered of the most important message. This does regardless of whether "Black Lives Matter" is considered a specific movement against police brutality, it is not even mentioned there. It is only mentioned as part of a specific action and clarified later:

"This is not exclusionary of the support we strive to give to all our community members. It means Black Lives Matter is the current focus, the current issue to tackle, and we support the mission to create a more equitable world for Black lives."

Also, removing the explicit reference to "Black Lives Matter" does not seem to change the meaning of the statement significantly. At least to me it is a minor detail. This might be because I am not an American citizen and biased by this.

@till wrote:
I will assume that you mean "discrimination against black people" as "this issue" because this is what was addressed in the statement that was worked on.

Actually, no. I believe the Fedora Community is unified against discrimination of Black people.

The issue I meant is what "Black Lives Matter" means and how it is interpreted by Fedora Contributors outside of the United States. A confusion I noticed was this letter of support being an endorsement of a specific political organization, rather than a popular social movement. Our letter of support is not an endorsement of any political organization. It reaffirms Fedora's solidarity to the issues faced by people of color in the Fedora Community and acknowledges our role in being able to bring about change, at least in our corner of the Internet.

This can be easily fixed by removing "Black Lives Matter" from the statement or to add "movement" to clarify that it is not about an organization.

@till wrote:
There is no need to educate the audience about the existence of the discrimination.

We may have to agree to disagree here. I think the work of education and building bridges is often invisible community work. But I believe building bridges and understanding is an important part in building solidarity, which is needed on contemporary social issues like this.

My point was that the audience for this statement are not the people who don't know about discrimination. Therefore they don't need this education. Other community members might require it and for them this statement can be part of it.
The most important audience in my opinion are
1) people who are already facing discrimination to learn that Fedora would be a community which a leadership that will work against discrimination
2) Community members that fighting discrimination/fighting for diversity and inclusion in Fedora to show them that their work is valued and supported by the leadership

Given the context in my reply, I am curious for your take on what proper acknowledgement of this problem looks like.

To me it means to state that there is a problem and take action on fixing the Problem in Fedora. Basically issuing the statement with appropriate action items to show the commitment publicly and then follow trough. I gave an example earlier in this ticket:

https://pagure.io/fedora-diversity/issue/135#comment-660872

Also, this should happen in a timely manner to make it proper. And the statement should focus on what will be done better in the future instead of celebrating previous accomplishments and consider those enough. Additionally, the action should focus on the specific problem and not be diluted with other items.

This seems to have stalled again. :-(

Hi. This ticket is now nine months old. I am closing it as stale. The window of opportunity for this closed, and I am still in an unsure place on how to move this forward. I will explain the decision to close this ticket and also share thoughts on how to better respond to these kinds of situations in the future.


The most obvious question is, why did we not make a very public statement?

The first part and perhaps most important was the lack of Black perspectives and voices in this discussion. It was difficult to know what the right thing to do was. While there are Black contributors in the Fedora Community, our in-person events have shown that we have not done an excellent job of including Black folks in the Fedora Community. While it should not be the responsibility of the under-represented to always represent themselves, this dilemma made it difficult for me to distinguish between what would be perceived as tokenism versus genuine, meaningful support and action.

The second part was the international perspective raised. Not that the Black Lives Matter movement did not have international elements, but the social issue was triggered by George Floyd's murder in the United States last year. The complaint I heard from folks outside the United States was that the Fedora Project has never stood up or spoken up for inequalities in their societies and countries for them before. So why now? An example was used of the Venezuelan conflict last year. For me especially, as a white American, I recognized my bias to the Black Lives Matter issue as an American citizen and that this issue was personal for me. I could see how our contributors outside of the United States felt side-stepped or written off when we have not taken a stance on social issues that affect them.


The second question is, where did this go wrong and what could we have done better?

The biggest mistake made was that we were not agile. We raised the issue when it was an emerging discussion in the world, but we did not do enough to act quickly. This stretched out for nine months, and I fear it looks worse than if we had decided to make a clear decision right when this ticket was opened. The opportunity to is within how we respond to societal issues that impact the lives of our friends in the Fedora Community.

One way we could improve this for a future scenario is find ways to make concrete, tangible actions to support our contributors who experience racial injustice. If a contributor raises an issue in their local community that impacts their time in Fedora, we need a better way to support our contributors in a way that does not take nine months to make a resolution.

Unfortunately, I only have a grasp on what I think we need conceptually. This is an area we could brainstorm ideas on.


This is not my proudest moment in Fedora and not how I wished this ticket would end when I opened it nine months ago. But I hope sharing the perspective behind this process will help those who come after when we are faced with a similar situation again. If 2020 taught me anything, it is less a question of "if" and more a question of "when".

Happy to answer questions or other queries in this ticket about this resolution. Just because the ticket is closed does not mean the opportunity to give feedback is lost. It would be good to capture learnings from this process for future reference.

Metadata Update from @jflory7:
- Issue close_status updated to: stale
- Issue status updated to: Closed (was: Open)

a month ago

How this one unfolded is disappointing to me. To add to @jflory7's comments, I think another obvious thing needed for this was an objective and a deadline. Reading back through things there does not appear to be anything mentioned to drive it to completion which meant it basically turned in to an open-ended discussion.

Another item worth talking about and at least making clear is what are the boundaries for statements like this from the project? Is Fedora free to create and publish statements like this or does Red Hat need to be involved? At the very least I feel like stuff like this should be coordinated so messaging is consistent and easily understood.

Login to comment on this ticket.

Metadata