In 2009, a LiveJournal post called “The Wild Unicorn Herd Check-in” in the Deadbrowalking community asked people who “identify as a POC/nonwhite person and … read or watch scifi or fantasy” to check in. There are more than 1000 comments on that post. And yet, I still run into people who believe people of color aren’t into science fiction and fantasy.
Looking at those 1000+ comments, it seems less that PoC don’t like SF/F, and more like the SF/F community as a whole has been less than welcoming to fans of color.
It’s one thing to say we want our community to be more welcoming and inclusive. It’s another to do something about it. Enter Con or Bust, an organization dedicated to helping people of color to attend science fiction and fantasy conventions. I spoke with Kate Nepveu, the secretary and treasurer of Con or Bust.
“Con or Bust was born out of RaceFail ’09, when some people of color I knew said, ‘We should help each other attend WisCon, so we can meet in person and be awesome together.’ I volunteered to organize a fundraiser in the fannish tradition of online LiveJournal auctions (such as livelongnmarry) because WisCon wasn’t in the cards for me that year, meaning there was no conflict of interest, and because I’d recently run a small-scale private fundraiser and so thought I could handle the work. We were doing this on extremely short notice — I announced the fundraiser on March 10, and WisCon is at the end of May — but we managed to raise enough money to send nine people, or everyone who’d requested assistance, to WisCon.
In late 2009, the Carl Brandon Society began acting as Con or Bust’s fiscal agent. That lasted through early 2016, when Con or Bust became a separate tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation.
All total, Con or Bust has raised almost $90,000 and helped fans of color attend conventions 329 times.
This year’s auction is going on through June 5, at 4 p.m. Eastern. According to their spreadsheet, the auction has more than 170 items up for bidding. This includes autographed books, critiques, clothes, art prints, character naming rights for various stories, and more. The spreadsheet includes direct links to each auction item, or you can look at the 2016 auction tags.
Requests for assistance are being accepted through the end of the day on Monday, June 6.
Do you have a suggestion for a SF/F group, individual, or event to be featured on the blog for general awesomeness? Email me at jchines -at- sff.net, or through my Contact Form.