Announcement of FE's Stance on #BlackLivesMatter

A Letter From Furnal Equinox Leadership

To us, the furry fandom has always been a place where people have sought out inclusion and equality. We were built from a collection of people coming together under a common banner, and we made efforts to recognize diversity and voices that often go unheard. Even in the fandom, however, we see the same patterns followed that are currently a problem in the rest of the world.

Furnal Equinox, as an event representing members of the furry community, believes it is our duty to bring these types of situations to the forefront. The specific circumstance on everyone’s mind right now is the struggle of the black community, suffering from numerous injustices. The deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Amy Cooper, George Floyd, D’Andre Campbell, and others, a complete list of which would carry on for pages, act as rallying cries for the black community. They are crying out that #BlackLivesMatter.

Protests, predominantly peaceful, are being met with additional violence from a broken system. The fandom is joining those protests, either in person, by raising their voices, or by opening their wallets to the cause.

Awareness

Various grassroots initiatives have kicked off within our community, with some being very practical efforts, and others more awareness-building. Multiple artists have opened for commissions and streams dedicated to supporting causes representing the Black Lives Matter movement.  The hashtag #UnderneathTheFursona has served to highlight many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour) creators and members of our community. Individuals who are themselves at risk for raising awareness are listening to police scanners and contacting protesters on the front lines to make them aware of entrapment practices by authorities that threaten or endanger them.

Action

As simple as it is to draft a statement and stand behind a message of awareness, we need to consider the long-term impact to our community. Like the preparations linked to COVID-19 this year, and future considerations for 2021, we have to treat the current situation seriously and consider how this currently applies to us as a fandom, and also as an event.

We will be making a specific initiative, both reactive and proactive, to engage members of the community who feel unheard in order to identify challenges for our event on a whole.

  • If we’ve overlooked equality and equity in our processes, or you don’t feel you have the same ability to be represented whether you identify with these current world events or if you feel marginalized in other ways, we would be happy to hear from you at diversity@furnalequinox.com.
  • We will also be proactively reaching out to members of our fandom who identify as part of the affected community and ask if there are items that we as an event can do better, encouraging an active change of culture at Furnal Equinox.

Additionally, we will be further evaluating our event policies to ensure that we’re not unintentionally advocating for or ignoring causes of concerns for our attendee base. We appreciate all the recommendations and suggestions that have been forwarded our way directly and over social media.

What Can You Do?

If you are a member of the affected community (or similar marginalized communities), there is a strong awareness of the necessity of mutual support, and again, if there’s anything we can do to support you, please reach out to us at the email address above. If you’re willing to join our team to make a difference in our organization or for our attendees, we look forward to speaking with you!

If you do not identify with the affected community? Educate yourself.

  • John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight: “Police” (Link) (June 7, 2020) – Currently only available in the USA, although this content has been mirrored elsewhere.
  • Vice: “How to Talk to Relatives Who Care More About Looting Than Black Lives” (Link) (June 4, 2020)
  • Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act Digital Exclusive: “We Cannot Stay Silent About George Floyd” (Link) (June 3, 2020) CW: Contains Scenes of Graphic Violence
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers: “Amber Ruiffin’s Experience with the Police” (Link) (June 2, 2020)
  • Trevor Noah (from The Daily Show) Instagram Post (Link) (May 29th, 2020)
  • Hasan Minhaj’s Patriot Act: “The Broken Policing System” (Link) (September 9, 2019)
  • Baratunde Thurstan’s TED Talk: “How to deconstruct racism, one headline at a time” (Link) June 26, 2019

Assuming you’re already in support, do what is practical for you.

  • Support black-owned businesses and creators.
  • Donate to causes, either directly or through donation drives.
  • Vocalize your support.
  • Vote, sign petitions, or write in to lawmakers or representatives to ask or demand for change.
  • Educate yourself further. This is an opportunity for us to be aware of current events, to champion the cause, and to assist in implementing change.
  • Take time for yourself where possible. Recognize that you are privileged to be able to, but give yourself some time to recharge your batteries and take care of yourself.
  • For a fairly exhaustive list of support resources, please refer to Ways You Can Help (on Carrd.co).

Summary

Diversity and inclusion is part of what has made our community great, but we recognize that we can do better. As a powerful group of people who care about each other, we must continue to create opportunities for change going forward. Right now, that means focusing on the movement that needs the most attention.

#BlackLivesMatter

Sincerely,

Aaeden Aranor
Convention Chair
(on behalf of Furnal Equinox)

Scani
Board President
(on behalf of Anthropomorphic Events of Ontario)