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BIPOC Caucus

The Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Affinity Group is a group established to answer the call for a supportive, safe, and brave space, for people of color within AIC, which was proposed by Sanchita Balachandran during her diversity workshop at the American Institute for Conservation annual meeting in 2017 in Chicago. However, this group is open to emerging professionals, mid-career professionals, students, pre-program, interns, and all who work, support, and thrive in conservation and cultural heritage.

Although we are AIC affiliated, we are an independently run group that communicates through Google Groups and is moderated by its members. This helps us maintain our privacy. Our communications and identities are never shared with AIC without explicit request from the membership.


This group would not have been established with the hard work and support from Samantha Emmanuel, Clara Gonzalez, Caroline Shaver, Victoria Wong, and Josie Maldonado. We were formed as an initiative and with the support of the AIC’s Equity and Inclusion Committee. A special thanks to the Rainbow Caucus working group members for sharing their process in the planning and execution of this group.


The BIPOC Affinity Group is an inclusive and intersectional group dedicated to fostering the success of Black, Indigenous, and communities of color with the aim of promoting equity, diversity and inclusion within the cultural heritage conservation profession. The Affinity Group will have a designated liaison from the AIC Equity & Inclusion Committee. The liaison does not have to be part of the Affinity Group or privy to the group's discussion. However, the liaison will be in contact with the Affinity Group's moderators and serve as the conduit for information to pass to/from AIC. The liaison will also advocate on behalf of the Affinity Group to AIC/FAIC. AIC will promote the affinity group on its platforms, post the group's mission and vision statements, and publicize the mechanism through which BIPOC conservation professionals can join the group.

We have witnessed time and time again a system that ignores the experiences and contributions of communities of colors. We recognize the lack of diversity and the many challenges BIPOC face within the field. This group intends to address issues that affect/impact the BIPOC community working within the conservation sector and those seeking to be involved in the field. It will do so in the following ways:

  • Create a safe environment for BIPOC conservation professionals and emerging/prospective members to meet, network and feel supported in a community of peers.
  • Advocate for and promote the professional development and advancement of BIPOC communities in cultural heritage, that includes promotion to leadership roles, equal opportunities, paid internships, etc.
  • Encourage more POC to enter the field by working in conjunction with allied partners and affiliate organizations in cultural heritage.

Vision Statement

We see BIPOC members as advocates who will determine the group’s priorities and serve the long-term interest of people of color in cultural heritage preservation. Our priority is to advocate for underrepresented communities of color in the field of cultural heritage.

  • We will advocate and bring more POC voices and perspectives to the forefront to support the preservation of our collective cultural heritage.
  • We will continue to promote the inclusion of BIPOC members in the conservation community with the goal of fostering leadership, equal opportunities and safe environments.
  • We will aim to create a community of peers and mentors to assist current and emerging BIPOC conservators to advance personally and professionally.
  • We will highlight achievements and contributions from POC in the field of conservation and cultural heritage.

Code of Conduct

Our code of conduct outlines the policies and standards for the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Affinity Group. To report a potential violation of this code, please consult the "Violations and Complaint Procedure" section below.


The BIPOC Affinity Group is a group for established professionals, emerging professionals, students, interns, colleagues, friends, and others within the conservation, preservation, and restoration of material culture who self-identify as a person of color regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, color, immigration status, social and economic class, educational level, family status, political belief, religion, and mental and physical ability or any other attributes that people use to label others or divide communities.


In order to keep this community safe for all members, privacy in an online forum is important because it removes a major barrier for entry, it breaks down power relationships, and allows an individual to express an opinion without the fear of intimidation.

  • We expect members to respect the privacy of other members and to keep any discussions from the group confidential. That means no comments, screenshots, or posts should be shared outside the group (which includes sharing wording or details of posts enough to track down the original post), unless you are able to obtain EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION from EVERY MEMBER that the post involves. In other words, if you are looking to share a thread of comments, you need the written permission of EVERYONE who commented in that thread.
  • We also expect members to adhere to and respect the confidentiality policies of other groups. It is YOUR responsibility to be aware of and follow the policies of groups that you are a part of. If, however, it is brought to our attention that a post is in violation of another group’s confidentiality policy and we agree that a violation has taken place, we will shut down and remove the post.
  • Members may NOT datamine the group for research or use any specifics of the conversations in the group for research under any circumstances.


Community Guidelines

  • Be patient with the evolution of this group. This group is new, and it will continue to change and become better with the help of all of you. Please be patient with the moderators as they receive feedback and make changes to the group to be the best that it can be.
  • Respect the purpose and objective of this group, including its members.
  • We encourage honest and difficult discussions and will not censor certain topics or opinions barring direct attacks on individuals and groups and disrespectful comments as deemed by the moderators.
  • Keep in mind that your words can be interpreted in multiple ways, so use short sentences that can’t be misinterpreted.
  • POC Affinity Group prioritizes marginalized people’s safety over privileged people’s comfort. The moderators will not act on complaints regarding:
    • “Reverse”-isms, including “reverse racism,” “reverse sexism,” and “cisphobia”
    • Reasonable communication of boundaries, such as “leave me alone,” “go away,” or “I’m not discussing this with you”
    • Communicating in a “tone” you don’t find congenial
  • No harassment such as:
    • Threats of violence
    • Deliberate intimidation
    • Stalking or following
    • Sustained disruption of discussion
    • Unwelcome sexual attention
    • Patterns of inappropriate social contact, such as requesting/assuming inappropriate levels of intimacy with others
    • Continued one-on-one communications after requests to cease
  • No questioning or challenging someone’s stated self-identity or chosen labels, even if they conflict with your own views.
  • No making general statements about groups you do not belong to.
  • No deliberate “outing” of any aspect of a person’s identity without their consent except as necessary to protect vulnerable people from intentional abuse.
  • No advocating for members to be banned, except in direct messages, or private discussion with the moderators.
  • Abuse will not be tolerated. This includes: personal attacks, hate speech, negative comments or slurs against race, sexual orientation or gender, mental illness, national and/or ethnic origin, language, or other identity markers.. This includes anti-Indigenous/Nativeness and anti-Blackness.
  • There will be no use of profanity directed towards any member of the group.


The duties of moderators include facilitating introduction of participants in a forum, encouraging robust discussion of the forum’s agenda, maintaining order throughout the proceedings, ensuring that the interactions remain within the identified theme for online forums. It includes editing, moving and even deleting postings.

The forum is run by a team of volunteers who, like the rest of us, have a bunch of family, personal, and professional commitments. This means that if you have a question, it might take a while before we can get back to you.

Violations and Complaint Procedure

If you see a Code of Conduct violation, follow these steps:

  • Let the person know that what they did is not appropriate and ask them to stop. That person should immediately stop the behavior and correct the issue.
  • If this doesn’t happen, or if you’re uncomfortable speaking up, contact the moderators.
  • As soon as available, a moderator will join, identify themselves, and take further action, starting with a warning, then temporary deactivation, then long-term deactivation.
  • When reporting, please include any relevant details, links, screenshots, context, or other information that may be used to better understand and resolve the situation.

How to Join

To join, please send the following information to This information goes directly to the BIPOC Affinity group moderators, and is not shared with AIC.

1.    Full name

2.    Do you self-identify as BIPOC? This is not a group for allies. 

3.    Are you currently a member of AIC or have a profile on the AIC website? The answer to this question will not affect membership to this group.  It will be used to gauge the makeup of the group.

4.   Briefly, why are you interested in joining?

5.   Please acknowledge that you have read and accept our terms and conditions from the rules of conduct and mission statement.