Internet Freedom Festival 2017

This one have been the best festival so far. How could it not be? So much love crafted into every detail. And still, so many mistakes to learn from. For me, coordinating the code of conduct response team and on call for any issue, this have been a learning experience. Nothing can prepare you for hearing that your own community, the one fighting for social justice, the one you should be safe in, have people that are making somebody else feel uncomfortable. Rape culture is real and is pervasive through our own communities. It is sucking all our energy and souls. We should have been spending our time working on the tools that will help us keep other people safe. Instead, we are thinking of ways to support each other through the space, we are looking for ways to keep the perpetrators accountable.

After so many years working in tech and activism, my moment of discovery, was one afternoon during the women of color, gender non-conforming and trans people meeting. We crafted a letter of support to our sister Nighat Dad and it started like this “The movement to build internet freedom is not simply a movement for technology”. Yes! Exactly that! You “can’t be” in the space of freedom in Internet AND outside and not think about it as something else than technology. Tools are only the shelter to move through our societies, the structure to propose a new world in.

Thanks to everybody that made this possible, the staff that have been working on this for many many months, the volunteers that push through a lot during the week to make it work, the journalists that came to the venue and write articles on newspapers all over Spain, the fellows that put all their energy on the selection of workshops and talks, , the presenters that though about each of the sessions they gave, the participants that fly from all over the world, everybody that had patience and compassion for our mistakes as we are all humans and are trying to do our best, each of us who took care of somebody else through the week.

Now we are starting to think about the year ahead for our next gathering in 2018. We will look at the challenges as well as the things that we want to keep for next year. From the Festival team we want to work people involved in Internet Freedom through the year. Is there a new theme that you want to include? Maybe one about health and not burning out in such a hard space. Did the framework for diversity and inclusion worked for you? Is there anything you want to change about the code of conduct and/or how we are working on it? Is there anything about logistics that was a problem and you would like to see it changing next year?

We learn to solve problems together. Cross culture practices is a learning process and we are all working on it.

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