This company-collaborated statement is supported and signed by Patrick Leder and the entirety of the Leder Games staff.
Yesterday, Leder Games withdrew from participation in Origins Online. We made this choice for two reasons. First, we wanted to make it clear that there was no room for silence on matters of inclusion and police brutality. Second, we wanted to stand in solidarity with the BIPOC voices in our industry and community who pulled away from the GAMA-sanctioned event.
When a striking number of voices, who are vocal for diversity, inclusion, and positive change in the industry, step down from their positions, the call to action is clear. They should be commended for their bravery and listened to.
Late last night, GAMA made an official statement to cancel Origins Online. Though this statement answered some concerns, it too contains several notable omissions that highlight some of the challenges facing any effort to make the hobby more inclusive. Specifically:
- Their apology has no mention of the BIPOC members of the industry who stood up to them. It also fails to note that those voices were the catalyst for their decision to cancel Origins Online.
- Their plan to make amends by asking attendees and publishers to forfeit their Origins Online payments shows a lack of initiative and imagination. As our industry’s governing body, we expect GAMA to take the lead without waiting for the initiation of others.
- There is no actionable statement on how they can work on uplifting the BIPOC community or an attempt to broaden their board or staff, nor does it recognize the board’s failures in this regard.
For these reasons, until the GAMA board introduces new and diverse voices in the upcoming election and provide an actionable plan on how they can uplift those voices and provide a safe platform to hear those voices, we will disassociate from GAMA in the following ways:
- Pull out of all GAMA sanctioned events/conventions
- Return our Origins awards
- Remove the Origin award emblem featured on the back of the Root box on any future printings.
- Request our refund from Origins Online in full so that we can double it ourselves and donate it to the Black Visions Collective on our own behalf
We have been active members of the industry and have been honored with the highest awards GAMA can bestow. Despite this history, we do not hesitate to stand with our peers in demanding these changes. We must unequivocally declare that black lives matter and recognize the lack of diversity in our industry, and create actionable steps to uplift minority voices and provide them a safe platform to be heard from and thrive.
For the sake of the community and the game industry, we hope GAMA can learn from this experience, make changes based on what they learned, and join us on the path for change. I have faith in everyone as we move forward to repair our strained union. I love you all and I want you to be safe. Black Lives Matter.