Blog Post

Details on difficult conference choices and options

Please read a parallel post that introduces the issue of North Carolina House Bill 2 (HB2) and its implications for CSA’s current plans to host a February 2017 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. As that post says, “doing nothing is not an option.” Here we offer a brief summary of reasoning behind some of the options we face.
MOVE THE CONFERENCE: On one hand, numerous organizations are moving their business out of North Carolina, both to make a stand against the law and to provide a safer venue for their constituents. One option is to follow in these footsteps. Additionally, we are very conscious that some participants may feel unwelcome or even threatened visiting a state with restrictions such as those imposed by HB2. Moreover, some people legally will not be able to attend a conference in North Carolina unless the law has changed by next February. For example, the governors of five states, and the mayors of certain large cities, have forbidden non-essential, official travel to North Carolina for their government employees.
PROCEED IN NORTH CAROLINA: Another option is to stay the course in Raleigh, but to put in place strategies that would both support inclusion in the conference event and show solidarity with those most affected, LGBTQ community members in North Carolina. They point out that boycotting the state hurts our North Carolina partners and the local community. Our partners have already invested large amounts of time and money into preparing for the conference and have offered their commitments to providing a safe and welcoming space for this event. As the city of Raleigh has called for the repeal of HB2, the conditions under which this law was passed–and the significant opposition from the public, professional organizations, and community leaders in North Carolina–withdrawing the conference now would unfairly penalize some of the most vulnerable people in the community, which has a long history of fighting injustices of their government. In addition, the CSA has signed contracts with hotels and the conference center that would leave us liable for tens of thousands of dollars were we to break our contracts.
We seek community input before we proceed. Please return to the main post for a link to offer your input – we need responses before Friday, May 13th, in order to inform our decisions and start putting solutions in action.
 

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