Last week Pandasaurus Games went dark on social media to help amplify black voices in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and to help those fighting for justice and peace within their communities. We stand in solidarity with these efforts.
As a company we believe Black Lives Matter and it felt inappropriate to use our social media platform to market products when those platforms were such a crucial part of sharing of breaking news.
As our company’s social accounts return to “normal” activity we also acknowledge that change is not a one-time hollow statement but a commitment to real ongoing change.
Today we want to reiterate our commitment to inclusivity within the board game community but also society at large. We know that actions speak louder than words.
To this point we will be taking the following concrete steps towards doing what we can to affect change:
1) We are making donations to Black Lives Matter, The Equal Justice Initiave and the ACLU, three charities focused on the safety of Black Lives and advancing the cause of equal treatment under the law within the United States.
2) In keeping with our commitment to inclusivity and to celebrate Pride we will also be making donations to the Pride Foundation and the Trevor project. Two fantastic LGBTQ+ foundations focusing on advocating for equal rights as well as suicide prevention.
3) Pandasaurus Games will have an open-door policy to any freelancers and designers from under-represented communities within the tabletop space. This means when we are looking for new games to sign or need an artist or illustrator, we will always reach out to someone from an underrepresented community within the board game space. Many times, something as simple as lack of access or lack of consideration is enough to create a self-perpetuating environment of homogeneity.
At conventions it means we will guarantee meeting slots are reserved for designers and illustrators who we have not worked with in the past that come from groups that are underrepresented in the gaming community.
We will always publish the best games that we can find, but we know that to find the best games we have to cast a wide-net and include voices that we are not currently seeing and hearing from. Diverse backgrounds and experiences lead to unique perspectives and we want to ensure that we are both doing our part to strive towards equal access to game publishers but also ensure we are engaging with all of the very best creative minds, including those that we may not know yet.
4) Last year Pandasaurus Games sponsored a scholarship to help under-represented groups attend trade shows and conventions. In 2021 we will redouble those efforts and work with groups that provide housing, badges, and travel accommodations for those that need financial help to attend shows. Trade shows are a crucial part of networking and relationship building and financial hurdles that can be overcome should. Details will come later in the year when we have a better idea of what kinds of conventions will take place due to Covid-19.
5) In the interim we will be setting up over the next weeks virtual pitch meeting times for board game designers and illustrators to meet virtually for LGBTQ+ persons, people of color and women within the tabletop community. These timeslots will allow for anything from pitching games, showing portfolios for illustrators or simple introductions and Q&A sessions about how either we can do better as a company or anything we can do to offer advice or help those striking out in the industry. These will be slots available for whatever you want them to be.
More than anything we want our fans to know that this is a starting point for us and something that we are committed to. We understand that change is a goal that will never be fully met, and we will continue to strive to do better as a company and help our industry become a more inclusive space for everyone.
“Americans believe in the reality of ‘race’ as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world. Racism—the need to ascribe bone-deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them—inevitably follows from this inalterable condition. In this way, racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.
But race is the child of racism, not the father. “
- Ta-Nehisi Coates