Too often at conferences and events the programming about marginalization and diversity is left out. Frequently it’s paired across from other exceedingly popular classes or instructors, so it is left with a lower attendance rate because it is on a topic of “should do” rather than “top choice.” Sometimes, these important facets of community learning are offered at the most inopportune times of day; such as too early or way too late; or they are offered at times in which the topic of the class is contradicted by the time the class is offered, such as holding parenting classes when daycare is not open.
Frequently the response to this is to play the “We Tried” card; and yes, indeed, having a class, or even two that center diversity and marginalization at an event or conference is better than not doing this at all. Some event organizers go the route of centering all presentations around a particular presenters identity (such as only offering classes presented by women or presenters of color). Though frequently, these events don’t also center their presentations as addressing the collective identity; such as a conference about queerness where the presenters are all youth and young adults, but there are not any classes about being a youth and being queer. The world is absolutely a better place with these events offered than without.
Far too often I have thought to myself, but what if there were a conference that specifically and intentionally featured both diversity as an intersection to a community, identity, or population and centered presenters of marginalized identities? As an organizer, the answer was simple. So here we are with the overarching organization, Think Between the Lines which holds the space for events for both those things to happen, and hold the space for people to learn and experience marginalization and diversity from a positive perspective full of education and excitement.
Of course the logo needed to incorporate a lightbulb. Not everyone is always in the same place of learning. But everyone always has the ability for their light to “turn on.” The light represents understanding, inspiration, ability to learn; and those are the focal points for Think Between the Lines.