Conference planners, we have to talk

I can’t believe I have to write about this again…but here we are. Conference planners and companies, why are you so bad at choosing locations and dates?

A little over a week ago, the Mac Admins Foundation posted an “Open Letter on Conference Inclusivity”. The letter states:

The Mac Admins Foundation (MAF) has observed that at least two conferences in 2024 are scheduled at the same time as a religious holiday celebrated by a considerable portion of the Mac Admins community.

While they don’t call our any conference or organization in particular they are referring to the Jamf Nation User Conference (October 1-3, 2024) and Mac SysAdmin (October 1-4, 2024). Both of these conferences are scheduled during Rosh Hashana, a holiday that has known dates for hundreds of years in the future.

Jamf has definitely done this in the past (at least in 2023 and 2022), I’m not entirely sure about MSA, but it seems that they have not. While I know planning conferences can be difficult, it’s not hard to look at a calendar and have specific blackout dates for the highest of holidays for each religion.

Whether it’s the first or third time, this is still pretty egregious and shows a lack of inclusivity (or a lot of ignorance).

Religion isn’t the only issue…again

While the letter from the Mac Admins Foundation is good, it misses one glaring issue with one of the largest Mac Admin conferences in he world; the location.

Last year, Jamf also made the decision to host JNUC in Texas, a state that has a long track record of passing laws to dehumanize marginalized groups. I’m not going to re-hash everything from my previous post, please go read it if you’re interested in that. I did contact Jamf via several channels and let them know that their decision was an ignorant one and that I would not be attending and I would publicly ask others to do the same. I know that several of my colleagues and friends chose to sit JNUC 2023 out due to this decision and I had hoped that Jamf would learn from this lapse in judgement.

They didn’t.

During JNUC 2023 it was announced that JNUC 2024 would be held in Nashville, Tennessee. Tennessee is yet another state that passes laws that are anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ+ (2) and has passed some extremely sweeping book bans. This is yet another decision that I cannot understand, it’s not like any of these things are new to the state.

As far back as 2007, Tennessee started regulating abortion using informed consent provisions. In 2021, the state signed a bill to ban transgender youth from school athletics, a bill to ban puberty blockers for prepubescent youth, and a new “bathroom bill” to update the 2019 law already on the books.

I’ve had several Jamfs try to tell me that both Nashville and Austin are not like the rest of their state, they’re very progressive. I’m sure they are, and I am sure that there are good people in both states and cities (I have good friends that live in Nashville), but the fact of the matter is that those cities and conferences held within those cities will still be putting into the economies of those states. I just cannot justify spending my money in those states. Period.

Again, what can you do to help?

To quote my last post:

There’s an extremely simple answer: don’t attend conferences in states that make dehumanizing laws! That’s it! It’s not hard! Instead, donate directly to organizations that are actively helping these communities. There are good people in these states, and I can almost guarantee that there are more good than bad there. These people are fighting the good fight and need help.

So with this in mind, here are some links for donations if you can spare anything:

Better luck next year, conference planners…I hope?

Additional Notes

I have disabled comments on this post as well, this isn’t something that should be up for debate. If you like this post, please share it far and wide.

Cheers, ❤️

This post is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 by the author.