Racial discrimination and other mistreatment of historically marginalized groups, in criminal justice and other contexts, is one major focus of FAccT scholarship. This year’s conference is taking shape while the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Monika Diamond, and Rayshard Brooks, among countless others, catalyzed a necessary confrontation with structural racism and race-based police violence. This is occuring in the US and around the world, including in Canada, where our conference was scheduled to take place. Globally, we are bearing witness to a rise of xenophobia as well as profound racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infection and mortality rates. These events have given rise to a global reckoning with some of the very same structural patterns of inequity and racism that we, as a community, have centered in our work. The issues at stake are not abstractions. For many in our community, uncovering and dismantling systems of racism and inequity motivate our scholarship. For others these systems are personal and unchosen lived realities. Centering the work and voices of those disproportionately affected by the technologies and systems we study is essential.
As your general chairs, we are strongly committed to making FAccT a racially equitable, inclusive space. This includes expanding the diversity and inclusion efforts of previous years as well as listening and responding to feedback on the failures of past FAccT conferences. This year we will be expanding our ongoing efforts of increasing the diversity of people in leadership roles and invited keynote speakers, with an emphasis on people of color and Black and indigenous identities.
We also plan to investigate ways of innovating the conference program to foster a diversity of participation and modes of engagement. Our community must strive both for the highest standards of scholarly rigor as well as seek to learn from, respect, and honor the people impacted by the systems we study. We see these goals as deeply compatible and mutually reinforcing.
We recognize that we have a lot of work to do. We’ll share more details with you as they take shape. If you want to be part of shaping those details, please be in touch and let us know your thoughts and ideas on the future of FAccT by email or this suggestion form. please fill out this form or be in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
William, Madeleine + Rich
Senior Research Scientist
Madeleine Clare Elish
Data & Society Research Institute
Co-Founder and Research Director, Vector Institute
Professor, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto