This year’s virtual conference is just around the corner! Many people have been working hard to bring the conference to fruition, and I consider myself lucky indeed to be surrounded by colleagues and presenters who are committed to and passionate about this year’s conference. One thing that has made these many months of planning so seamless is a shared acknowledgement among MFLN and DoD staff that cultural competency—and our productive awareness, action, and advocacy across identities, experiences, barriers, and institutions—is sorely needed.
Ours is a time of polarized discourse, and of protest; of injustice and disenfranchisement, and of hope; of avoidance, but also of speaking out and speaking up. We each come to this world and operate in it depending on where our identities locate us on a continuum of privilege. Some of us have the privilege to be passive, to think or to say, “that is not my problem,” or “that doesn’t involve me.” Others of us know what it is to experience the burden of inequity on multiple playing fields, know the possibilities and risks that come of speaking out. But it seems we all have the ability to be courageous.
This conference, and your participation in it, is a call to respectful and thoughtful conversation, no matter your identities or experiences. It is courageous to acknowledge, reflect on, and share openly the uncomfortable realities in our world today. It is courageous for us each to identify and be present in our many unique roles that can contribute to those realities. I am confident this conference and its conversations will create a lasting and positive impact on all who choose to participate. I challenge each participant, as I challenge myself, to use this conference as an opportunity to create a positive shift in the world around us by looking inward, and returning that gaze with positive action for a more just workplaces and communities.
We are pleased to provide a series of speakers that are ready to guide us through the phases of awareness, action, and advocacy necessary for positive change. While this conference is for everyone, it will be an especially informative learning experience for professionals working with and advocating for diverse individuals and families across the country and around the world
I hope you enjoy this sneak peek video from one of our presenters, Dr. Anne Phibbs. Her session will set the tone for the conference by providing tips for having productive conversations across race, class, gender, disability, and sexuality. Join us as we learn from Dr. Phibbs and her many years of working on the front lines of diversity and inclusion!
Stay tuned for upcoming details on how to make the most of the virtual conference through opportunities for self-reflection and storytelling, dialog, and earning continuing education credits. Do you work in a department, organization, or community group that would benefit from the conference? Attend the live online session together, or make plans to watch the recorded sessions at a time that is most convenient for all of you. Make sure to RSVP and sign up for conference news and resources, and I look forward to learning with you and from you in September!
Brigitte Scott, PhD
Director of Program Development and Evaluation
Military Families Learning Network.