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A More Welcoming Arisia

June 17, 2020

Black Lives Matter. While we don’t have a time machine to prevent the injustices of the past, we certainly have the power and the duty to correct present injustices and prevent future injustices in the spaces we are responsible for creating. Actions speak louder than words, and we are determined that our actions will reflect our resolve to make Arisia a more diverse, more welcoming space.

For too long, the leadership of Arisia has hesitated in the face of proof that fans of color do not feel welcome at Arisia. This Tuesday at the monthly meeting of Arisia, Inc., the non-profit corporation that runs the annual Arisia convention, we proposed and the membership approved a set of changes that we hope will make our position clearer.

We have made the following changes to the Arisia Code of Conduct:

  • We have replaced some language that has been weaponized against BIPoC or used to police their behavior. In particular, we strive to avoid coded words like "intimidating" and "civilized". We can and will continue to clarify our expectations of Arisia attendees, but we will do it in ways that do not alienate fans of color.
  • We have added "display of hateful iconography" to the list of behavior the Code of Conduct explicitly forbids, with reference to the iconography listed on the SPLC and ADL websites.
  • In light of our knowledge of endemic police racism and brutality in interactions with BIPoC, we have removed suggestions that Arisia would involve the police, either reactively in response to prohibited behavior, or proactively by encouraging a police presence. In the past, we have sometimes paid for Boston Police Department details during the convention, but we commit to ending this practice.
  • We have clarified the protected classes, including race, to which our harassment policy pertains.

These changes will bring our Code of Conduct into closer alignment with our ideals, as well as aligning it with the requirements of Con or Bust, an organization dedicated to helping fans of color attend SFF conventions.


We are retiring the "Lens" logo from its association with Arisia. This artwork too closely resembles a modern police badge, which has become a symbol of oppression. Where it was still in use, we have replaced it with a logotype designed by Lee Moyer for Arisia 2017. We have also made a donation to the Boston branch of Black Lives Matter in Lee’s name, as he requested.

We have formed an Anti-Racism Committee, led by energized volunteers, which is dedicated to educating ourselves about the injustices suffered by BIPoC and how to become actively anti-racist.

We are re-committing to supporting the convention's Diversity Committee, which exists to make the Arisia convention a safer, more welcoming space for fans of color.

We, the leadership of Arisia Inc., regard these changes as first steps to make Arisia ever more welcoming to fans of color. Suggestions for future changes are welcome -- please send those to