I have recently found out about a great organization that has set out to help sci fi and fantasy fans of color attend SFF conventions: Con or Bust.
From their "About" section: Con or Bust is a non-profit "whose mission is to increase racial and ethnic diversity in the production of
and audience for speculative fiction. Con or Bust isn’t a scholarship
and isn’t limited by geography, type of con-goer, or con; its goal is
simply to help fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome
Con or Bust has been around 2009 as a response to Racefail09, which was about the lack of characters of color in fiction, and whether non-people of color have the right, responsibility, and/or ability to write COC. Reactions were varied, and many of them were passionate, some angry or defensive, but it broke wide open the discussion.
A side issue was the dearth of POC sci fi and fantasy writers. Linked to that was the lower numbers of convention-goers who were POC.
So Con or Bust decided to do something about it. Since then, they have made it possible to make donations, and also hold an auction (full of awesome stuff!) in order to raise funds that are then used to send fans of color to various SFF conventions.
The auction for this year opens on February 10, and closes on February 23. (Keep in mind timezones, folks).
Some of the offerings:
A poem written for you/about by Jane Yolen. (Yeah, that Jane Yolen!)
A custom, handspun, handwoven scarf, your choice of color
A custom, Police Box bag or laptop/iPad case
A manuscript critique up to 10,000 words by Lynne M. Thomas, or a fiction critique up to 10,000 words by Yoon Ha Lee (who also has a short story collection Conservation of Shadows available as a separate bid)
Pillow cookies from one person (cookies wrapped in brownies, anyone?) and a New Orleans care package from another
Books, many many books (including The Spiritwalker Trilogy by Kate Elliot with a copy of "The Secret Journal of Beatrice Barahal"; multiple series by N. K. Jemisin; the Newsflesh series by Mira Grant; signed ARCs of A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents; an illustrated, hardcover, gift edition of Stephen King's The Shining; and many, many more).
This is only a sampling of the auctions on the first two pages. The auctions for this year are already up to page 4.
So please, take a look, ogle the wonderful, and get ready to bid on the 10th, and/or spread the word about an organization doing a lot of good.