This is a draft for a blog post on fedeproxy.eu inspired by Justin’s message.
What do you think?
Early 2021 two friends, Pierre-Louis and Loïc, had an idea to foster Free Software and decided to create a new project to make it real. Many projects are born out of ideas every year in the Free Software community and they inherit the unfortunate lack of diversity that still prevails. This needs to be improved from the start and the founders of the project looked for resources to get inspiration. But organizations advocating for diversity in tech or in the Free Software community are about established projects and large corporations. For lack of examples to follow, they relied on common sense.
The first opportunity to do something concrete regarding diversity presented itself when organizing the first workshop on User Research. The goal was to recruit six participants who were (i) speaking French, (ii) Free Software developers, (iii) in Paris, France. A call for participation was published on Mastodon and Loïc, who lives in Paris, started to ask around if people knew developers from under represented groups who would be interested. And he deliberately did not reach out to anyone else. Not surprisingly it took significantly more time and more discussions because, by definition, there are a lot less people in under represented groups. But it succeeded and it was a defining experience: legwork yields good results.
It is a simple and effective realization: diversity is not just a state of mind, it requires work. Since Pierre-Louis and Loïc are funded to work on the project they decided to permanently allocate 5% of their paid time to diversity and the organization in charge of the grant made it official.
This is very little money (3K€) on a tiny Free Software project but it effectively improves diversity. Maybe it will inspire other modest projects to work on diversity in proportion of their resources. There are so many out there, it could make a difference on a global scale.