By John Dichtl, AASLH President and CEO
Moving the AASLH conference online has been a challenge on multiple levels. While coordinating 200-plus presenters across plenaries, live sessions, and pre-recorded sessions, we kept the price low and the program innovative and interactive. Nevertheless, in our rush to present a new kind of conference, we made a mistake. We scheduled sessions and events on Monday, September 28, which is Yom Kippur, the most holy day in the Jewish calendar. Many of our Jewish colleagues will not be able to participate that day.
On behalf of AASLH, I apologize for that oversight.
To address this error, we are changing the schedule for Monday, September 28. We will be leaving the general session, “Intersecting Pandemics of Racial Injustice and COVID-19 and Its Impact on the Future of Public History,” but we are moving all other sessions originally scheduled that day to Wednesday, September 30. As has been part of the plan all along, all sessions and events will be recorded and will be available to registrants for six weeks following the end of the conference. What is missed one day can be viewed or reviewed later.
Yom Kippur is one of the dates we strictly avoid when setting the dates of the in-person conference and sign contracts with hotels and convention centers. When we scheduled the online conference we kept the original dates of the planned Las Vegas annual meeting (September 23-26) and extended them a few days so there would be a more manageable number of sessions each day.
Taking diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion seriously means AASLH will have to try harder. We made a mistake and will be paying closer attention in the future.