“Embrace diversity.
Or be divided,
By those who see you as prey.
Embrace diversity
Or be destroyed.”
– Octavia E. Butler, Parable of the Sower

In 1968, upon hearing the news of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., the citizens of Washington, DC, rioted in the streets. For four days, the people of our city raged against the police and the National Guard, angry at yet another senseless death, angry at a system that allowed for such a death to occur.

Mere weeks before his demise, in one of his last major speeches entitled, “The Other America”, Dr. King continued to avow his belief in non-violence and his condemnation of riots. And yet, he also recognized this:

“I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots. But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.”

The disease of racism, woven into the very fabric of the founding of our nation, remains to be overcome fifty-two years after Dr. King’s death. Once again, the people of Washington, DC have taken to the streets to protest the same fundamental flaws in our society that spurred Dr. King into his speech on “The Other America”.

Right now more than ever, all of us, regardless of race, gender identification, sexual orientation, able-bodiedness, faith, and especially those of us with privilege, need to stand with each other, condemn the viciousness of systemic police violence, and never be afraid to express our desires for a better, just society for all persons of color, everywhere.

At the end of this month, DisCon III will have its first all-staff meeting to discuss and plan your Worldcon. Given that Washington, DC, is a majority-minority community, one of our primary initiatives will be working to ensure and foster diversity at DisCon III. We will outline the results from our staff meeting and the input we receive and detail the specifics planned for DisCon III in July.

We at DisCon III recognize that the Worldcon community can and should be doing more to encourage and support our fellow members of our community who are persons of color. If you want to talk to us and let us know your thoughts and ideas, please contact us either through our social media channels, @worldcon2021, or email us at chairs@discon3.org.

Until then, please consider contributing to, educating yourself, and supporting the communities through the following links:

The Carl Brandon Society
Black Science Fiction Society
Black Lives Matter DC
FreedomFightersDC (@FFDC2020)
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund

Talking About Race with the National Museum of African-American History and Culture
Ibram X. Kendi: How Racism Relies on Arbitrary Hierarchies
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I Became Black in America
List of Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners
Afropunk – Solution Sessions

Resources for Race, Equity, and Inclusion
Mahogany Books – Local DC Bookstore
Loyalty Bookstores – Local DC and MD Bookstores
Blerdcon | July 16-18, 2021
Curated List from Black Lives Matters to Multiple Locations You Can Support

We can do better. We will do better.

And, we will never stop listening.

Colette H. Fozard and Bill Lawhorn, Co-Chairs and the DisCon III Staff

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