The Genesis Community Livecast came back from hiatus with special guests Mike Little, Anita Carter, and Sandee Jackson. The conversation centered around the representation of black WordPress community members.
Where are we now?
The WordPress community is known for being incredibly inclusive and welcoming, however panelists had a hard time pinpointing black thought leaders.
“I find that black people in the WordPress community aren’t hugely visible and it does seem to be a small number that is visible. There is a large community in the WordPress world but I’ve struggled trying to pinpoint anyone who is a leader,” Little said. “Seeing someone who looks like you in a position that you might consider for a career choice, is a huge step. Particularly someone from the black community when most of the faces might not be black. It really makes a difference.”
Jackson echoed Little’s thoughts saying “we cannot be what we cannot see.” It is so important to lift up voices of underrepresented groups. Especially for younger generations.
Carter spoke to the feeling of isolation if you are the only person in a room, group, or conference that looks like you. She went on to say that if that’s the case, it’s the only thing you’re going to be thinking about the entire time.
Where can we go from here?
Everyone was in agreement that there is work to be done in the WordPress space, so what are some first steps we can take? The biggest piece is representation.
“Seeing someone who looks like you in a position that you might consider for a career choice, is a huge step. Particularly someone from the black community when most of the faces might not be black. It really makes a difference,” Carter said.
Little encouraged people in positions of power to not shy away from actively finding people from underrepresented groups and bringing them in.
Not only hiring people, which is incredibly important, but being conscious of marketing materials.
“We need to see a face. A face has to be associated with it,” Carter said. “There needs to be more visual aids that include us in them.”
The biggest takeaway from the panel is the need for all WordPress and Genesis community members to lift up black member around them.
“It’s not that these leaders don’t exist there’s less of a way for them to be elevated. They often don’t have the personal networks in the size and profile,” Jackson said.
We have an opprotunity to show other communities what it truly means to be diverse and lift up voices we aren’t hearing from.