GAMA Executive Director John Stacy apologized yesterday to the hosts of Origins Online who walked out last week in protest over the organizations lack of open support for the Black community.
The not-for-profit trade organization eventually issued a statement of support after the walkout, where they also announced the cancellation the virtual event planned for this week. GAMA was criticized for not mentioning the hosts in the statement, many of which put careers on the line by walking out of the well-publicized event.
As to the delay, Stacy said the organization was trying to be mindful of the moment and that came across as nonreponsive.
“It is clear that something went wrong, and that their voices were not heard as they should have been. I am will endeavor to do better,” Stacy said in his report during the annual membership meeting yesterday.
Stacy will be holding small group focus meetings, one-on-one calls and member surveys to gather suggestions and feedback. He is also reviewing their systems and processes to ensure they aren’t creating barriers of entry to the tabletop trade organization.
GAMA have also hired Jackiethia Butsch to facilitate a town-hall-style meeting Tuesday, June 23 at 3pm EST on Zoom. The meeting will be used to collect input and “take meaningful steps to be inclusive and supportive of everyone in the industry.”
Executive Director Report
Over the past few days I have been speaking to people throughout our community to try to understand what happened last week and why we find ourselves here today not talking about the wonderful virtual convention that so many people had worked to pull together, or the efforts GAMA has made to support our industry over the past year.
I would like to start by apologizing to those guest host of our livestream program that were placed in the difficult position that many of them felt the only way to be heard was to walk away from a project I know many of them cared deeply about.
We assembled a wonderfully unique, diverse range of people from across our industry for the livestream part of Origins Online. It was the pillar of our virtual convention. I am sorry that our community will not be able to see the fruits of your labor.
It is clear that something went wrong, and that their voices were not heard as they should have been. I am will endeavor to do better.
To the publishers and sponsors who invested so much to help us organize Origins Online, I am sorry we were not able to delivery on the promise we made to use this platform to support you during this difficult time for your businesses. I am committed to work with you to find other ways to help support and promote your companies during this pandemic.
I also would like to address the belief by many that GAMA does not care about racism and violence against people of color, and that we were slow to voice our support for this important issue. While we were trying to understand what was happening with the livestream program, members were asking understandable questions. People filled in the blanks we created by not responding immediately. We were trying to be thoughtful and mindful of the moment and that came across as nonresponsive or not caring.
As an organization we stand against racism, support inclusion and diversity, seek to have voices at the table that may be marginalized. A look at our staff, our programs, and the things we have tried to accomplish over the past eighteen months are proof of our commitment to our values. All that positive and intentional effort was washed away in a moment.
To demonstrate our commitment to find a pathway forward, we have hired a professional facilitator to host a Town Hall meeting next Tuesday June 23 at 3pm ET / 12pm PT to gather input on how we can use this moment and discussion to take meaningful steps to be inclusive and supportive of everyone in the industry.
In addition, we have started reviewing our internal systems and processes to ensure that we are not unintentionally creating barriers for those we should be helping. I have been talking with members and others in our community on ways we can structurally change to respond faster and share what we are trying to do to support the industry. In the coming days we will be holding small group focus meetings, one-on-one calls and member surveys to gather your suggestions and feedback.
Together we can make GAMA an organization that lives up to our vision of “A game on every table, a table for every gamer.”
John Stacy, Executive Director GAMA