23 Jan 2019

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion panel highlight

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are central themes to the OpenCon Cascadia program, and are especially highlighted in a panel dedicated to the on-the-ground efforts of people who are thinking critically and taking action on such issues.

The open philosophy is inextricably tied to issues of equity; equal access to information and resources is prevented by deeply ingrained structural barriers that serve as mechanisms of oppression. However, philosophy does not translate seamlessly into action. Indeed, there have been many critiques of “diversity initiatives” in academia and industry that have little impact due to lack of informed strategy and focus on numbers without regard for fostering a culture of inclusivity vital for diverse people and ideas to thrive. In engaging in the open community and working to restructure access to knowledge, we have the opportunity to dismantle existing structures of power and systems of oppression that dominate the current framework of scholarship and education.

The OpenCon Cascadia DEI panelists are involved in research to understand and address issues of bias and representation in research and actions that recognize the contributions of and create opportunities for underrepresented minorities.

Letisha Wyatt is the Director of Diversity in Research in the OHSU Office of the Senior Vice President for Research and is a faculty advisor as well as founding member of the Alliance for Visible Diversity in Science.

Sanjay Srivastava is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon. As the president of the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science, he promotes initiatives to make the open community more diverse and inclusive.

Carol Muñoz Nieves is a researcher at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. She works with the open community in an impressive variety of spheres as a lecturer, press analyst, and journalist for organizations in both Canada and Cuba. One example of her work is in researching the lack of inclusion of public dimensions in faculty work in the process of review, tenure, and promotion, suggesting a key area in which academics may be incentivized to engage in activities that lead to systemic change.

Tara Robertson is the Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Partner for Mozilla who has worked for a long time within tech and open communities to push for equity and inclusion in a data-driven manner.

Finally, Juell Towns is an undergraduate student who is an NIH-Build EXITO scholar, McNair Fellow, and CDC-HBRN Scholar. She conducts research at OHSU in the Department of Neurology in improving cognitive health among older African Americans.

This will be a thoughtful and stimulating panel with an inspiring group of activists! Register for OpenCon Cascadia here. For questions – email openconcascadia@gmail.com.