Leading up to Friday’s decision from the City of Austin to cancel this year’s SXSW festival, I was excited to present on the topic of how men can lean in as allies to help women rise. While I am saddened I will not be able to network and share ideas with fellow conference-goers, I applaud officials’ decision to put public safety above all else.
On a personal note, I also have a sense of relief, both for myself and others who have been or could be impacted by COVID-19. For the last two weeks, I have grappled with whether or not attend and present. While I may have been just fine, this large event could have put unprecedented pressure on Austin’s healthcare system as well as contributed to further spread of COVID-19 as conference-goers left Austin to return to homes and workplaces all over the world. This would have been particularly dangerous for the immunocompromised or those with pre-existing conditions (including my brother, and other family and friends).
As tough as it is, I believe the city made the right choice.
Regardless of SXSW 2020 being cancelled, I will still find ways to speak and share my insights and learnings on how men can lean in as allies.
Thank you to everyone for their support through this process – from the moment I was accepted to speak through my preparation, I’ve felt the love.