Afternoon Action: Pitch a Panel to SXSW

by Latoya Peterson

Ever since the “Can Social Media Help End Racism panel,” a lot of us who use technology in pursuit of social justice have tried to figure out a way to get more racial diversity into SXSW. (The organizers also have the same goal, and created different systems to try to encourage more diversity in panelists and presenters.)

This year’s South by Southwest panel selection closes tomorrow, July 9th. I know LATISM was planning a 100 panel push for Latinos who work in tech. However, I want to encourage everyone – folks working with social media, using social media to promote their projects (film folks, this means you!), moderating/facilitating online communities, people employed in technology, or even just enthusiasts to propose a panel. The panels then go to a vote, and the SXSW staff will also check out their favorites and make decisions on what will ultimately create a great mix of content. So please – if you have an idea (or even half of one), please go to the site and put in your pitch.

I’m actually cutting back on conferences next year with all the changes to Racialicious (and the fact that I’m just conferenced out) but I did come up with an idea yesterday that I want to pursue. Tentatively called “Tech Power to the People,” I think I’m going to ask some of my other PMC fellows to go in with me on a discussion of how tech can be leveraged to reach a variety of communities, how to get a sense of community needs, and how to empower communities to create their own stories. (We decided early in the program that if we don’t show people how to create this content, the project isn’t going to be sustainable.) By SXSW, my six month stint with the Corps will be over, and I should have some hard data for what worked and what didn’t work in the various areas of D.C. and the different populations. So, I think I’ll do that.

What are your ideas?