SQL Server's Community with a Healthy Helping of #SQLFamily
It's with more than a little pride that our community calls itself #SQLFamily. I can't think of another IT association that does the same. And, honest to goodness, it really feels that way at a gathering like the annual PASS Summit. There are hugs, back-pats, and high-fives. There are the long, catch-up sessions. There are after hours get-togethers at the local watering holes. And, after the PASS Summit is over, there's a continuous conversation in social media and the blogosphere that keeps everyone connected.
Taking Steps to Protect Each other
There's another facet of our #SQLFamily that needs highlighting. In particular, an issue that I consider to be supremely important, is PASS' 2012 adoption of an Anti-Harassment Policy (AHP). Harassment is real. And it's not something to be laughed off or excused because someone "just had one drink too many" and couldn't control themselves. The PASS Summit and the wider community is a gathering of professionals; it's not Spring Break for the cast of Jersey Shore. And that means there are some who may lose self-control or practice bad behavior. When that happens, it's incumbent upon us to step-up from mere spectators of bad behavior into supporters and protectors of those who are under threat.
As a father to six daughters, I could not possibly take the issue more seriously.
And as a senior member of staff at SQL Sentry, who have been a long-time sponsor of the PASS Women In Technology efforts, I can tell you that we could not take the issue more seriously.
What Can We Do When We Witness or Become Aware of Harassment?
Let's reiterate the essence of the AHP. PASS members (in fact, any attendee of a PASS event) are to treat others with respect at all times, whether that be inside a session room, a conference hallway, a PASS sponsored event, or even a casual get-together at a local bar or coffee shop after a PASS event. And, for those of us who witness harassment (or become aware of it after the fact), it is critical to support those affected and call out the instigators – these incidents cannot, and must not, be tolerated. ALL attendees at the PASS Summit and members of our community are entitled to have a safe and positive experience.
I'm thinking of the day when one of my own daughters might come to a PASS Summit. How would I feel if I knew that our community didn't have much of a track record for protecting one another?
The bad news is that harassment of women, our very own kin in the #SQLFamily, did indeed occur recently in our community. (And it makes me fighting mad!) The good news is that our community is one of active support and encouragement, in which we help each other as we would our family. So when I consider a what-if scenario in which one of my daughters came to a PASS Summit and then experienced harassment, I feel good knowing that others would stand with her, support her, protect her, and speak out.
It is encouraging to know that our #SQLFamily will not put up with these types of incidents. If you witness harassment yourself, don't wait. Whenever you experience a reason for concern or want to report an incident within the guidelines of the AHP, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.