With an announcement on the Linux Weekly News site on Tuesday, the Ada Initiative will be tying up the loose ends and wrapping up their work in October.
“It is with mixed feelings that we announce that the Ada Initiative will be shutting down in approximately mid-October,” the statement said. “We are proud of what we accomplished with the support of many thousands of volunteers, sponsors, and donors, and we expect all of our programs to continue on in some form without the Ada Initiative. Thank you for your incredible work and support!”
According to the statement, after a search for a new executive director late last year, the new hire didn’t work out.
The statement explains: “That brought us to a decision point. It would have been unreasonable to expect Valerie (Aurora, a co-founder) and Mary (Gardiner, a co-founder) to continue with the Ada Initiative forever. We considered running a second ED search, but it had become clear to the board that the success of the Ada Initiative was very much a product of its two founders, and was a direct result of their experiences, skills, strengths and passions. We felt the likelihood of finding a new ED who could effectively fit into Valerie’s shoes was low. We also considered several other options for continuing the organization, including changing its programs, or becoming volunteer-only.”
Founded in 2011, the Ada Initiative has been a leader in the drive for equality in tech — as well as bringing basic feminist concepts like consent, tone policing, and intersectional oppression — primarily with the establishment and enforcement of anti-harassment policies adopted by many tech shows and expos around the country, as well as other non-tech conferences. The Ada Initiative also established workshops like AdaCamp, Impostor Syndrome Training, and the Ally Skills Workshops.
“Today, thousands of conferences have these policies, including many in the area of free and open source software, fandom, Wikimedia projects, computer technology, library technology, science writing, entomology, and many other areas we never expected to influence,” the statement said. “This work is now completely community-driven; people everywhere are developing and improving codes of conducts for online communities.”
AdaCamp unconferences, starting in 2012 in Melbourne, Australia, where over 500 women had the life-changing experience of the unconference. Established at AdaCamp San Francisco in 2013, the Ada Initiative taught a class which was continued at subsequent AdaCamps on overcoming Impostor Syndrome, “the feeling that you are a fraud and will be found out as unqualified, often for the work you are already performing. Many women in open tech/culture experience Impostor Syndrome, and are excited to learn how to counteract it.” The Ally Skills Workshops were established in 2011 and “teaches men how to use their societal advantages to do more of the emotional labor of pushing back against sexism and exclusionary behavior in their communities and workplaces.”
Guides for the AdaCamp unconferences, materials for the Impostor Syndrome classes, and the Ally Skill Workshop materials are all available under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.
“Everything that the Ada Initiative created with the help and support of our volunteers and donors is continuing on in some freely available, reusable, and modifiable form,” the statement said. “The conference anti-harassment and community code of conduct work is fully in the hands of the community, with dozens of forks of various anti-harassment policies and codes of conduct in active use and development. The AdaCamp Toolkit makes all of the AdaCamp innovations available to anyone who wants to start a conference or improve an existing conference. Over 40 people are trained to lead the Ally Skills Workshop, materials for which are all available for free use and modification. The Impostor Syndrome training materials will soon be released under the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license for anyone to use or modify for free.”
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