Drupal for justice

As I'm sure you already know, Drupal 9.0.0 was released yesterday which was the result of thousands of people in the Drupal community coming together to make Drupal even more amazing. The release has a new Drupal 9 landing page and a Drupal 9 video that highlights the journey of Drupal and the Drupal community. We are truly better together.

You are also most certainly aware of the tragic killing of George Floyd as a result of police brutality and the resulting protests throughout the United States and other parts of the world. As an American, it sickens me to see how the Black community is treated in the US. Systemic racism is real and real change is needed urgently. Watching the peaceful protests throughout my country, I feel outrage, sadness, and hope.


For better or worse, I've been on Twitter a lot over the last couple months, and during the last couple weeks, it's been difficult to reconcile the content in my Twitter feed. Violence and anger and grief from yet another senseless tragedy in the Black community. Excitement and pride and joy from years of hard work on Drupal 9. I've struggled to take pleasure in the Drupal 9 release while watching the heartbreaking events unfold in the news.

I wanted to write a post about how amazing Drupal 9 is and how amazing the Drupal community is. Yet I'm preoccupied with thinking how I can make things better, how I can make the world better. Knowing many in the Drupal community, I am certain I am not alone with these thoughts and feelings. I did some research and have found some reactions from the Drupal community in light of recent events that I would like to highlight.

Drupal leadership

It's always important when you are part of a company, organization, or community that the leadership makes a clear statement on pressing social issues. I was encouraged by Dries' Drupal 9 release announcement that he made this statement:

I have always believed that Drupal is a force for good in the world. People point to our community as one of the largest, most diverse and most supportive Open Source projects in the world. While we make mistakes and can always be better, it's important that we lead by example. That starts with me. I am committing to the community that I will continue to learn more, and fight for equality and justice. I can and will do more. Above all else, it's important to stand in solidarity with Black members of the Drupal community — and the Black community at large.

Source: Dries Buytaert blog post

The Drupal Association (DA) published a Statement of Support and Taking Action that includes a list of encouraged actions for the DA team and the Drupal community at large.

Source: Drupal Association blog post

The Drupal Association values equity, diversity and inclusion, and we recognize we still have work to do to create meaningful change. Here are the ways in which we are encouraging our team to take action. We are sharing in hopes that you will take action, too.

I was also motivated by the Twitter thread from @xjm, the Drupal 8 and 9 core release manager.

[1/8] The powerful will do everything they can to stop us from making real change. Protest now, but also work in your community to protect voting rights. Help people register. Advocate for the right to vote by mail so that disabled and working citizens can vote.

Source: @xjm Twitter thread

These are great examples of calls to action from our Drupal leadership in support of the Black community. So how can the Drupal community help bring forth positive change?

Individual action

At an individual level, some concrete acts are listed above from our Drupal leadership. But it's crucial to hear and amplify the voices of the Black community. Bernice King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., has some actionable advice.

Source: Bernice King's Twitter account

And, Barack Obama wrote a thoughtful article on "How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change".

Source: Barack Obama Medium post

For white people or anyone who's not well educated on racism, there is a lot we can read and watch in the Anti-racism resources compiled by Sarah Sophie Flicker and Alyssa Klein.

To donate, here is a list of 115 Ways to Donate in Support of Black Lives and Communities of Color.

Organizational action

It is vital that businesses and organizations leveraging Drupal make a stand against injustice. I searched the home pages and blog posts from the top 50 Drupal organizations on drupal.org to see what they've been saying about the recent tragic events. I also looked at their team or leadership pages to get a sense of their diversity.

I was surprised and frankly saddened to only find ONE article on the topic.

Source: Four Kitchen's blog post

Todd Ross Nienkerk from Four Kitchens wrote "Our Commitment to Social Justice and Racial Equity". Thank you, Todd, for making a statement, donating to causes for justice, and helping your team with resources and education.

Source: Four Kitchens

I encourage other organizations that benefit from Drupal to make a stand and support the cause for justice.

As for organizational diversity, it was pretty much as expected. Most American and European companies appear to be predominantly white. We do have a fair amount of geographical diversity within the Drupal community, so we do see significant engagement within some non-white regions such as Latin America and India. As organizations, we need to continue to push for inclusivity and diversity because representation matters.

Community action

As a community, we have embraced the Drupal Diversity and Inclusion (DD&I) initiative. And, we have taken some active measures to increase representation within our events and community. But, even our DD&I leadership seems to be lacking in some aspects of diversity as it appears (based on my own personal bias looking at photos) that the team is predominantly white. This is not to dismiss the important work the team has been doing, though everyone knows we can all do better.

Looking to other Open Source communities, I am heartened by the GatsbyJS fundraiser for Black organizations fighting for justice. They will match donations up to $25,000 until June 8, 2020. I would welcome a similar initiative within the Drupal community, perhaps right after the GatsbyJS campaign is done. GatsbyJS has gone further with their support of the protests by postponing Gatsby Days. And some Gatsby team members have written about the topic recently including "My White, Blissful Ignorance" by Jason Bahl.

Source: @GatsbyJS Twitter thread

I do see some positive movement in the Drupal community as well. Heather Rocker, the DA's Executive Director, is looking for training organizations to help underrepresented groups.

Source: Heather Rocker's Twitter account

I also saw Avi Schwab is matching donations up to $1,000 via the #DrupalCaresLocal hashtag. Thank you, Avi!

Source: @ajschwab Twitter account

Drupal for justice

Let's make Drupal stronger by helping make the world a more just place.

If you know of other ways the Drupal community is helping in the fight for justice, let me know and I'll add them to this post.

Apologies, my old website is still on Drupal 6 and looks particularly bad on mobile. I've only started posting here again after many years and I've been very busy reviewing Drupal 9 patches and surviving a pandemic. Please ignore the cobbler's old shoes for now, thanks!

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