USQ Update

USQ Update

New Members on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

Meet our new DEI committee members that joined USQ this past month, and get updates on current DEI initiatives and programs.

We are so excited to have welcomed 10 new volunteers to our new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee this August. This committee, along with DEI Coordinator Brandi Cannon, will be working together on DEI initiatives for the league this season.

At the end of this article is an update on current inititiaves and programs that this committee is working on.

Tawfik Abbas

Tawfik Abbas is a Swiss-born German immigrant with Ghanaian and Palestinian roots raised in ‘the mitten’. After four years with Michigan State University Quidditch, he played for Chicago United while finishing his mathematics degree. Abbas is passionate about linguistics, history, and quidditch (obviously).

Natasha Conerly

Natasha Conerly started playing quidditch with Virginia Commonwealth University in 2013. After a memorable collegiate career, they moved on to District of Columbia Quidditch Club, where they helped the team win a regional championship and later served as team president. Conerly currently resides in Richmond, VA with their cats, Athena and Ares.

Carlos Elarba

Carlos Elarba has been playing quidditch since World Cup V. He’s played with five different teams over the years and is looking forward to working on the DEI committee. Elarba looks forward to helping this committee make effective policies to make quidditch be a place where all people feel accepted and heard.

Taylor Gibbs 

Taylor Gibbs is a recent graduate from Appalachian State University with a major in political science and a minor in religious studies. Throughout college, she played quidditch with the Appalachian Apparators and even played abroad in England for a semester with the Preston Poltergeists. Taylor currently lives in the Mid-Atlantic region and is excited to help the quidditch community as a volunteer of the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee.

Jeremy Hoffman

Jeremy Hoffman is a graduate student at Illinois State University studying recreation administration and women, gender, and sexuality studies. They’ve been involved with quidditch since their junior year of college, starting off with the Illinois State Firebirds. For the last three years, Hoffman has played on club teams (Lake Eerie Elite and Boom Train) and has been semi-active in the quidditch community via playing, head reffing, and hosting a podcast called Hoops, Hops, and Heels. They are looking forward to helping further the sport on a more professional level now.

Ravi Jaimangal 

Having played quidditch for six years, Ravi Jaimangal is excited to get involved with USQ as a volunteer. He is a tireless advocate for all people and wants to see the sport transform into something greater. Looking to the future, he would love to become a head referee and advocate for more minority players to participate in the sport. Jaimangal loves this sport with all his heart as it has been instrumental in fostering friendships with people from all over the country. He hopes to be an inspiration and a mentor to new players as well and introduce them to a sport that has provided so much fun and enjoyment for him over the years.

Vidisha Jha 

Vidisha Jha is a sophomore at Brandeis University and has been in USQ for almost a year now. She’s really excited to join the DEI committee this year and get more involved in our awesome community! 

Shirley Lu

In 2011, Shirley Lu joined her first quidditch team at Wellesley College and has been hooked on the sport ever since. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in computer science and mathematics, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue her career in tech as a software engineer. While living in California, she played for and captained or managed four local teams — the Silicon Valley Skrewts, San Francisco Argonauts (MLQ), Bay Area Breakers, and San Francisco Fog (WCQ). Over the past nine years, Lu has been involved with quidditch in a variety of roles — organizing the first couple iterations of Northeast regionals, serving on the World Cup organizing team, tournament director, nationals photographer, and now West regional coordinator and web development coordinator for USQ. Outside of quidditch, she fosters kittens, does portrait and event photography, enjoys rock climbing, and plays segway polo.

Meg Romine

Meg Romine is a utility player for Boston University Quidditch. They just started playing quidditch last year but have been a spectator since they were a kid. Romine studies film and television at Boston University and also rides on the BU equestrian team. They are a huge extrovert and would love to meet anyone and everyone involved with quidditch! 

Angela Song 

Angela Song plays for Boston University Quidditch as a beater. Song joined last year when she came to BU and has enjoyed every minute with her teammates ever since. Outside of BUQ life, she is pursuing a major in international relations and is involved in clubs related to the field (BUIAA). Song is so excited to be involved in USQ and looks forward to what will happen further on!

DEI COMMITTEE Action Items

In July, USQ and MLQ identified seven pillars for DEI initiatives. Additionally, USQ also identified 13 initial action items for our organization to focus on for the fall. Below are those detailed action items with an update on the progress being made. 

  1. BIPOC feature in September
    • We kicked off the season with the "Impact" BIPOC feature. This feature focused on nominating BIPOC members of the community and uplifting the impact they’ve made on others. In September and October, we are focusing on stories for Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month.
  2. Census
    • In May 2020 USQ released a census to gather information about the community we are currently serving. Having an understanding of our current demographics will aid in inclusive practices to better serve our community. We reached over 700 participants for this. The next step is to evaluate the data.
  3. Increased visibility and incorporation of gender pronouns
    • As mentioned in our May 2020 DEI team update, USQ is moving to include gender pronouns in all USQ staff and volunteer email signatures. We will also be working towards including gender pronouns on USQ event volunteer forms and individual member registration. You can read more about this initiative in the May update.
  4. Review of DEI aspects relating to Rulebook 14
    • USQ is delaying the release of Rulebook 14 (originally slated for August 13) to take time to evaluate, and address any potential for, implicit bias or DEI related safety concerns the current rules may create. It’s important that the words our league so heavily relies on accurately reflects the equitable space we are working towards creating for everyone.
  5. Affinity groups
    • Providing a safe space for individuals of similar identities to connect is important for the growth of our sport. These spaces give opportunity for individuals to share their experience comfortably with others who may have faced similar experiences and make way for discussions that can lead towards continued change for quidditch and the experiences individuals have within it. 
  6. Update of harassment policies
    • USQ is updating its current harassment policy. This includes the reporting process, added transparency on action taken on reports, and clarity on action that can be taken on certain issues––in particular issues related to racial harassment and cyberbullying. Additionally, USQ aims to work more collaboratively with MLQ and quidditch conference leaders on harassment issues as they arise.
  7. Livestream commentary program with DEI accountability
    • We are creating an inclusion rider, which is a set of accountability metrics, for all regional and national USQ broadcasts that will coincide with our new livestream commentator training pipeline. This rider will serve to mandate that we are hearing marginalized voices reflective of our regions/nations demographics and above. We are recording demographic information on initial interest form as well as who is receiving certifications as a metric for tracking our diversity initiatives and seeing if there is a specific phase of training that there is a fall-off in diversity. This will give us analytics we can use to create a baseline to improve from as well as hold ourselves accountable to maintain. We will use this information to see where we are falling short in having diverse voices in quidditch broadcasting and course correct. It’s extremely important that we are being equitable about what voices are being heard as experts in quidditch as we establish this broadcasting network. Now is the best time to implement change instead of fixing problems down the road. If interested in helping with this program please email volunteer@usquidditch.org
  8. Board recruitment with BIPOC focus
    • Since its founding as a nonprofit in 2010, USQ’s board of directors have always been majority white. This group is involved with many key decisions for our sport and responsible for the long-term vision and financial health of this organization. Diversifying this group is critical to USQ’s diversity and equity commitments. The application for the board of directors can be found here
  9. Create a DEI resource page on the USQ website
    • USQ is creating a virtual space for our community to have access to resources focused on further learning about DEI related topics.
  10. Improve evaluation of safety for BIPOC members at event locations
    • When hosting events, USQ wants to ensure its members feel safe not only in the host city but in the surrounding area as well in terms of travel. USQ is working towards improving our event bidding and evaluation process to ensure safety is a top priority in this process.
  11. Update of brand guidelines
    • Ensuring there is diverse representation in USQ’s media is important. In the past, our brand guidelines typically focused on gender representation. It is an internal document that defines how our organization should be presented visually in various mediums. Being more intentional to expand that representation to race/ethnicity as well is important for recruitment and retention of our BIPOC community members.
  12. Creating and sharing training opportunities focused on anti-racism and implicit bias
    • Included in our new DEI webpage, USQ plans to offer a series of learning modules focused on different DEI topics––including anti-racism and implicit bias. These learning modules will be available for members and strongly encouraged to be completed by everyone once available. 
  13. Incorporate more accessibility features for USQ media and resources
    • USQ wants to ensure that our media and resources are easily accessible for anyone, regardless of ability. Making our information easier to access for those with sight, hearing, or learning disabilities, for example, will be a priority for this season. The results of the accessibility review and the list of changes USQ is making will be posted on our website, as a resource for teams, conferences, other leagues, and the rest of our community.

Next steps and progress on these action items can be found below. USQ will provide regular reports to the public on the progress of these action items. The next update will be posted in October.

Department

Initiative

Focus

Next Actions

Progress

Goal Deadline

Member Services Increase visibility and incorporation of gender pronouns Inclusion, Learning Opportunities Incorporate gender pronouns to member registration 85% August 2020
Member Services Census Recruitment/Retention, Inclusion, Leadership Begin to evaluate data 75% September 2020
Communications BIPOC features Spotlight Finished “Impact” feature. Focusing next on upcoming Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month 50% September 2020
Gameplay Rulebook 14 updates Equity, Inclusion, Safety Reviewed current rules and suggested rules. Starting to make changes to the rulebook 75% September 2020
Member Services Affinity groups Inclusion, Equity, Learning Opportunities Identify groups who will meet throughout the season and create meeting times 10% September 2020
Office of the ED Update of harassment policies Safety, Equity Evaluate current policy, research other NGB policies, make updates to policy and process 10% September 2020
Communications Livestream training program Inclusion, Learning Opportunities, Spotlight Finish DEI component of training program, create remainder of the program 25% October 2020
Office of the ED Board recruitment  Inclusion, Recruitment, Retention, Leadership Continuing outreach to potential good candidates (application can be found here) 75% October 2020
Office of the ED Create a DEI resource page on the USQ website Learning Opportunities Identify topics to be covered on this webpage, research and gather resources 5% October 2020
Events Improve evaluation of safety for BIPOC members for event locations  Safety Evaluate current event bidding process 15% November 2020
Communications Brand guidelines Spotlight, Inclusion Update USQ brand guidelines 15% December 2020
Member Services Creating and sharing training opportunities focused on anti-racism and implicit bias Learning Opportunities Research current training modules available, evaluate if a new module needs created 0% December 2020
Communications, Member Services, Events Incorporate more accessibility features for USQ media and resources Inclusion, Equity Evaluate current media and resources that can be improved 10% December 2020

Contact Us

If you have any questions about getting involved as a volunteer, please email volunteer@usquidditch.org. If you have any questions for our DEI committee, please email diversity@usquidditch.org.