Saturday, December 20, 2014

Building Community: Call to Action - what's missing?

DearREADERS,


This is only how Ol' Myrt sees the calls to action. What's missing regarding the global genealogy community's honoring the United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent 1 Jan 2015 - 31 Dec 2024? 

We don’t need to be of African descent to accomplish these suggested action items. Ol’ Myrt’s DNA doesn’t indicate African descent, but I choose to influence my circle of friends to join me in developing understanding, and taking action. 

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BUILD COMMUNITY?

George Geder says just saying "hi" works for him.

Robin Foster suggests "Acts of service, like indexing Freedman's Bureau records."

Shelley Murphy agrees "There is a difference between having an open heart and taking a public stance -- wanting to take action."

Carol Petranek has made space at her local Family History Center for conversation to happen.




So Ol' Myrt here is willing to take a stance, take action, and provide a space for discussion here in my blog.
  • Let us step across the aisle to aid another researcher.
  • Let us raise awareness of people of African descent.
  • Let us encourage full participation as presenters and attendees at local, regional and national genealogical and historical society meetings and conferences.
  • Let us look beyond unintential bias to embrace diversity.

What have you,
your local society,
local newspaper,
regional and national organizations
decided to do to honor this
important United Nations' initiative?


 Ol' Myrt here wouldn't be so presumptuous as to suggest this list is complete. While I've tried to look at promoting the UN initiative, I can only see so far. It takes more of us to work through a good list of suggestions. And it is more than an occasional blog post about the UN's decade of commitment to honor people of African descent. It takes action. So, to open this discussion, here is my offering:

CALL TO ACTION: DearMYRTLE requests that every genealogy society board and conference program chair recognize the United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 as follows:
  1. Create a poster mounted on foam core for durability using the official UN logos. Display the poster on an easel at each meeting. See: http://www.un.org/en/events/africandescentdecade/logos.shtml
  2. Provide a handout with worthwhile websites and other resources with genealogical, historical and cultural information for people of African descent.
  3. Appoint a newsletter staffer or society board member to keep up with events and topics discussed at the UN website http://www.un.org/en/events/africandescentdecade/index.shtml
  4. Have staffer report new information monthly in a short subject class or blog post. (That’s 120 reports over 10 years!)
  5. Ensure announcements at each meeting include:

    “This society recognizes the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 by providing this poster and flyer. We reach out to all regardless of race, color, creed or national origin with support for researching family and documenting cultural inheritance.”

  6. Insert a page on your society's website affirming same, and including links and suggestions from the poster and flyer.
  7. Submit articles quarterly to your local newspapers on a variety of topics, listing the International Decade for People of African Descent runs 2015-2024. It might be a recommendation of a website, spotlighting a society member’s research achievement.
  8. Observe annually 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade by hosting a multi-cultural event.
  9. Sponsor at least 2 African Descent classes at your annual conference. Larger multi-track conferences such as RootsTech, National Genealogical Society, Federation of Genealogical Societies and Who Do You Think You Are LIVE! can provide a full-day’s track.
  10. Grow your society, reaching out in your community to people of African descent by providing a SIG (Special Interest Group) with calendared meeting dates. It’s a great idea to use a free Google Calendar, and embed it in your society’s website. Provide access to all SIG leaders to modify their scheduled events with topics and contact information.
  11. Host genealogy presenters of African descent who can speak to general topics such as the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard), migration, organization, technology and other topics of interest to a wide variety of family historians.
CALL TO ACTION: DearMYRTLE requests that every genealogy presenters, bloggers, video bloggers, podcasters and webinar/hangout/tweeters of African descent recognize the United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 as follows:


  1. Create an initial post using an official logo, explaining the United Nationals International Decade for People of African Descent, including your related blog post plans. See: http://www.un.org/en/events/africandescentdecade/logos.shtml
  2. Create a page or category for your followers to readily find all posts you'll create over the next 10 years. Two blog posts a month equals 240 over the next ten years!
  3. Submit articles quarterly to your local newspapers on a variety of topics, listing the International Decade for People of African Descent runs 2015-2024. It might be a recommendation of a website, spotlighting a society member’s research achievement.
  4. Work proactively with your local genealogical or historical society to promote understanding about people of African descent. You could be the newsletter staffer who spotlights African descent research in each issue.
  5. Broaden the base of your blog posts, hangouts, webinars, podcasts and tweets to include topics other than African descent, spreading the word of reliable resources for other ethnic, religious and cultural group studies. Just as you wish for others to respect people of African descent, so to must we all broaden our scope of understanding.
  6. Create and submit proposals for presentations honoring people of African descent mentioning in the description that elements of the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) and principles from Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones are employed. This helps program chairs focus on your work if you haven't presented for their organizations before.
  7. Create and submit proposals for presentations honoring principles of the GPS (Genealogical Proof Standard) using examples for the locality of the venue.
  8. Ensure your documents and citations, per Evidence Explained, include samples at least mentioning a cross-section of audience demographics. Since this changes from presentation to presentation, I've reserved specific PowerPoint slides to remind Ol' Myrt here to do this.
  9. Become aware of the “call for papers” and “presentation proposals” for local, regional and nationally-ranked genealogy conferences, sharing info with others about rules for submitting. 
  10. Join organizations such as the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Genealogical Speakers Guild to network with like-minded people with a variety of research focus points.
  11. Participate in panel discussions with a diverse group of presenters to discuss methods for community outreach that will grow the sponsoring genealogical society.
CALL TO ACTION: DearMYRTLE requests that every genealogist recognize the United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 as follows:


  1. Submit articles quarterly to your genealogy society newsletter about the United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024. (That’s 40 articles!)
  2. Submit case studies as you solve lineage questions in a family of African descent.
  3. Work proactively with your local genealogical or historical society to promote understanding about people of African descent. You could be the newsletter staffer who spotlights African descent research in each issue.
  4. Participate in an African descent service project such as FamilySearch Indexing, recovery and maintenance of a local graveyard, BillionGraves, Family History Center classes, etc.


CALL TO ACTION: DearMYRTLE requests that every “webinar” organizer (using your technology platform of choice) recognize the United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024 as follows:
  1. Advertise call for presentations through a variety of outlets including the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speakers Guild, and major genealogy bloggers, clearly stating submission requirements, deadline, and focus topics.
  2. Annually host a People of African Descent series to include research strategies, record group surveys, migration patterns and other topics.
  3. Be mindful that people of African descent may also have expertise in general genealogy categories of interest to your followers.
  4. Before, during or after each webinar, display a slide bearing a United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent logo. See: http://www.un.org/en/events/africandescentdecade/logos.shtml
  5. Before each webinar state: “This organization recognizes the United Nations' International Decade for People of African Descent 2015-2024. We reach out to all regardless of race, color, creed or national origin with support for researching family and documenting cultural inheritance.”
  6. NOTE: The use of the term "webinar" is generic here, but is intended to include any type of audio and video meeting using a variety of platforms to impart genealogy "how to" information.

    +Cousin Russ , I hope you are taking notes!


A FEW MORE WORDS
Whew! This post took seven days to compose, based on conversations I've had with a few people of African descent. What do others have to suggest?

Sadly, I've sat in on board meetings where specific strategies for cross-cultural outreach were never entertained. We simply couldn't see beyond our European-centric unintentional bias. Yet, with only a few glaring exceptions, I think every member of those boards would consider themselves thoughtfully avoiding any form of bigotry.
big·ot·ry
ˈbiɡətrē/
noun
noun: bigotry; plural noun: bigotries


intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.
Source: Dictionary.com
What can make the difference? The difference is taking action. That's what I hope to accomplish with this post.



Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
DearMYRTLE,
Your friend in genealogy.

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