Hello friends and those of you who I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting. I am Jeff Eck, a struggling small business owner and fellow maker. I have been a member of Makeict since our numbers were in the tens of members. I transported the majority of our stuff from the Delano District to our last building on 1500 E Douglas, in my box trailer, when we moved down there. I spent many many nights working long hours with Mike Hutton to build out the wood shop and once completed I started working on the metal shop with its first lead. I continued to work in the metal shop with the next two leads and stepped back when my health started to be more of an issue. I have never asked for any special treatment or acknowledgment for all of my hard work to help make MakeICT a reality as I preferred to work in the background unseen. It was never about me, I was happy to work and contribute to the cause. I am not rich, I have very little if any spare cash, so I contributed what I did have, an ability to work. Some time back I was trying to be more active with the makerspace and I was running to be on the board. Not long after I shared my intention to be more involved, I was attacked by one of our members with false claims of racism. There is no defense for false claims like this. What can I do, point out my black friends, my black family, my asian family? There is no defense. I was shocked, but it made me choose to not even vote for myself. I didn’t want to be in leadership of an organization that would allow one member to make baseless claims with no penalty.
I have continued to pay my dues, having only used the equipment once or twice for personal projects, as I have wanted to help make the makerspace a reality so that EVERYONE can have an idea and have the tools to make that idea a reality. I have contributed to the idea that we were building a community of makers who come together in our shared space to create together, sharing our knowledge and experience for the betterment of all. I have never even for a moment thought anyone should be told they are not welcome to make at MakeICT. Each person is unique, with ideas, with dreams, with personality that help to make our world more beautiful for ALL of us. I will continue to cherish our differences, I will continue to hope that we can overcome hate and division.
Recently the board approved a code of conduct that is racist, sexist, and divides us into groups of privileged and protected classes. Yes I know they removed the word ‘Privileged’ but did not change what is clearly an agenda driven code that prioritizes some over others.
This new code of conduct codifies that into the rules. Now when I am labeled a bigot with no proof, at best a he said she said, I will be told that I am not welcome to make with my friends as I have been labeled a bigot who is not welcome at the makerspace. But this code is worse than that. The board reserves the right to support racism. The board reserves the right to be sexist. The board reserves the right to support the attack against a straight man because he isn’t in the lgbt(I don’t even know all the letters) community. This is so far past reasonable I fear it might endanger our 501c3 tax exemption.
I do not support the mistreatment of anyone for any reason outside of crime and its legal punishment. I do not want anyone to feel unwelcome, disliked, or hated. I hope for anyone who wishes to become a member to feel desired and part of the community. We must welcome all as they are, not asking anyone to be different than they are, to be worthy to join us. We need differences, we need ideas that do not line up with our own to allow each of us to grow as people and it adds beauty to the world we all share.
Equality breeds peace. The goal of any rule or code of conduct should be to be a level, fair playing field that treats each individual as an equal to the next with no tilting of the balance of justice. This is why Lady Justice is always blindfolded when she holds the scales of justice. When everyone is on an even playing field, each person will not be pushed into either the far right or far left direction. However, when you group people, when you give some more rights or privileges than another you breed discontent. This discontent will push people to extremes and make conflict inevitable. Hate and isms are grown out of ideas like privilege, and perceived inequality in treatment of people often based on characteristics that hold no merit. Consider the division of people based on eye, hair, or skin color. A division of people based on characteristics they cannot permanently change makes no sense as none of those characteristics have any effect on the quality of the person, their character, their personality, their worth or value. This will only cause anger, hate, isms allowing any grouping of the kind. Likewise, divisions based on things that can be changed, even when it requires a third party to surgically make the changes, will lead to the same outcome as divisions based on unchangeable characteristics.
Personally, as a Christian, my faith dictates that I cannot even feel that I am better than anyone else. Much worse to actually have an ism where I think I am more important, more valuable, etc. Please consider what I have shared, please consider what this new code does, please consider all things to find the truth of the matter. I wish you all well, but for now, I am going to step back and cancel my membership as I have little hope the board will see the wisdom of my words.
To whom it may concern, please close my Jeff@makeict.org email address. No badge to turn off as I had not yet made it to an orientation class.
Rustin, please bring me the sheer to repair as my last contribution to the makerspace.