Guest Post: Con or Bust: Helping Fans of Color Attend SFF Cons

Kate NepveuHi, I’m Kate Nepveu, and I administer Con or Bust, which helps people of color/non-white people attend SFF conventions. Joseph has kindly invited me here to tell you all about Con or Bust – especially its current online fundraising auction, at which not one but two ARCS of his Black Feathers are currently being offered – and the assistance currently available to fans of color.

Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship and isn’t limited by geography, type of con-goer, or con; its goal is simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves. It began in 2009, in response to events within the SFF community that attempted to marginalize and silence fans of color and their allies (a.k.a. RaceFail ’09). Fans of color expressed the desire to help each other attend WisCon, a prominent feminist SFF convention. We ran an auction on LiveJournal and raised enough money to send nine fans of color to WisCon, which was pretty good for short notice.

Subsequently, the Carl Brandon Society agreed to act as Con or Bust’s fiscal agent. (It is a U.S. not-for-profit organization whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of and audience for speculative fiction.) Over the next two years, Con or Bust sent ever-increasing numbers of fans of color to WisCon.

Then, in mid-2011, Con or Bust expanded to help fans of color attend any SFF con of their choosing. From July 2011 through the first quarter of 2012, we helped nine people attend various cons; from April 2012 to March 2013, we helped twenty-five different people attend cons twenty-eight times. (More detail is available at Con or Bust’s website.)

Now in 2013, Con or Bust has a shiny new non-LiveJournal website and is in the middle of its annual fundraising auction. Bidding doesn’t end until Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time; why not come find cool things or bargains?

And, if you’re a fan of color/non-white fan, Con or Bust is currently taking requests for two different types of assistance. Last-minute free memberships are currently being offered, first-come first-serve, to Emerald City Comicon (Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., March 1-3); FOGCon (Walnut Creek, California, U.S.A., March 8-10); and EightSquaredCon, The 2013 Eastercon (Bradford, UK, March 29-April 1).

And Con or Bust is now taking requests for general assistance to attend SFF cons in April, May, and June 2013. Two cons have donated free memberships: Balticon (Hunt Valley, Maryland, U.S.A., May 24-27) and The Steampunk World’s Fair (Piscataway, New Jersey, U.S.A., May 17-19). But fans of color can request assistance to any SFF con during April, May, or June, from now through February 25.

Please let people know about the auction and about the available assistance! If you’d like more information about supporting Con or Bust, feel free to stop by its website, or to ask me what you’d like to know!

(Editor’s note: Con or Bust is an internationally active organisation!)

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