By Kate Calderon

Three weeks ago I attended my first InfoComm.

Two weeks ago I posted a heartfelt overview on Twitter that caught some attention (see the entire thread of posts here: https://twitter.com/tastefullykate/status/1145785187848118273).

I’ll be honest and tell you that I was incredibly nervous to hit “send” on those little tweets.

Never in a million years did I expect so much support and commentary from across the industry over a pretty sensitive topic. There was an outpouring from women both privately and publicly of their own stories and situations surrounding the event as well as a plethora of men who came forward sharing their own situations of having to “save” coworkers or being just a great samaritan when seeing a woman in distress.

For every. single. person. who joined in on this conversation. I thank you.

But I do have to have another plea to make with you, AV Industry.

First and foremost! This is not a #MeToo movement. This is not a pity party.

I am writing this today completely disheartened that after doing some light research on this subject surrounding this industry (articles dating back to 2014 from industry greats) that we have been having this SAME CONVERSATION for YEARS.

Apologies, am I yelling? Let me say it louder for the people in the back.

WE HAVE BEEN HAVING THIS SAME CONVERSATION FOR YEARS.

Enough is enough.

Do I have the perfect answer to this issue? No.

Can we come together and figure something out as an industry? Absolutely. Yes.

We program and find solutions for problems as our JOB…I’m pretty sure we can come up with something incredible.

Secondly, this is not just a women and harassment issue. This issue is for every person in our industry no matter the age, nationality, or gender. It’s all of us, people.

I realize that this is a problem across all industries. But as a people who are statistically made up of older, white males…an industry who is trying to drive and invite the younger generation into it, this problem is especially true for us.

And now, more than ever, is the time to make moves to change it for the better.

Mary Cook said something last week on AV Resurrection that struck my heart.

“We are an industry searching for people to come into it. And young people have a much broader look at the way people are treated, at the way they expect to be treated, and when they see somebody objectified…male or female or whichever gender that they identify with…it TURNS. THEM. OFF.”

My main goal when sending out those little tweets a few weeks ago was to start a conversation. And a conversation we have started!

But please, let’s make this conversation productive and make a change for the bettering of our industry as a whole. For everyone.

I ask you to please keep being accountable when it comes to supporting friends, coworkers, and strangers when it comes to bullying, harassment, and other marginalizing issues.

I ask you to please reach out to your own company and implement an anti-harassment and anti-bullying policy within your own organization so that people are held accountable when they attend industry events.

I ask you to please reach out to the heads of these manufacturers and leaders of our industry organizations to make a stand against the age old thinking that sex will sell more AV technology.

I’m going to end this with a conversation held back in 2014 between Draper and the awesome Leonard Suskin. Yes. 2014.

“When will this end?”

“It will end when we decide to make it end. When those of us who are offended by it speak up and let everybody know that we’re mad and let them know why. Let them know that, in the long term, this is harmful to women and men in our industry. That casual sexism should be just as shocking as casual racism would be. We’re not there yet. We may not get there for a long time. Until we do, I call on you to stand with me, to speak up. If you don’t we’ll stay where we are.”

We’re still here. We’re still speaking up.

Are you listening?

(Note: Header image via Pxhere, CC0 Public Domain, free for personal and commercial use, no attribution required)

(Editors note: The AV Road House [Resurrection] podcast Kate referred to Episode 1: Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends).

Kate Calderon is Marketing Manager at Innovative Collaboration. Kate is an experienced marketing professional with a passion fueled from building relationships and growing brands through innovative and creative marketing strategies. Currently spearheading the marketing department of one of Central Florida’s leading Audio Visual companies. On LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katecalderon/.