Aisha Blake

A Safe Space to Talk About Diversity

March 12, 2016

When I found out I’d been accepted as a speaker at Grand Rapids Dev Day, I was excited. I’d submitted three talks and the first thing that crossed my mind was a question: which talk do they want me to present? I wasn’t surprised to find out that it was my talk about diversity, particularly when I realized I’d be one of just four female speakers throughout the day. It makes sense for me, as a Black, female web developer, to talk about diversity… Right?

Personally, I love talking to people. I want to understand and to be understood and I don’t mind being vocal, baring parts of me, in order to do that. Perhaps this will change once I’m further into my career, but I feel safe enough within the communities I’m able to reach to do that. I submit this talk to conferences knowing that people are desperately looking for answers. They understand that there’s a problem and want a solution to it. I don’t have the solution.

What I can do, rather than providing all the answers, is provide a space for people to start working, asking questions, and challenging themselves. I had an awesome time connecting with people through this talk today. Though I certainly got some less than enlightened comments before and after, I felt like it sparked some healthy conversation. My hope is that at least some of the people who participated take action.

Feel free to refer to the slides!

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