UNITED STATES (DOGPATCH PRESS) – In light of recent events regarding the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police, activist movements have tried to raise awareness of the racial injustices which are still happening in today’s society. The issue of racial inequality has once again been brought to light by these events, and many people believe we have a long way to go until people of color feel safe in our communities.
Fandoms from science fiction to furry haven’t always been as diverse as they could be. As fandoms grow, previously overlooked members see each other and want to be seen. Now one group of furry fans from Maryland are aiming to take things into their own hands by running a convention mainly with the help of those from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.
Harvest Moon Howl Fest, which is set to take place on a 200-acre campground in Maryland, is the newest of a plethora of furry conventions that take place around the globe. However, unlike most, Harvest Moon Howl Fest’s main goal is to build the convention from its original foundation by people of color and of other marginalized groups. The board is mainly run by those from black communities, but the CEO of the con has assured those with concerns that people of all backgrounds are free to attend, volunteer, or apply for staff at the event.
The convention, which invites con-goers to camp on private grounds used for large festivals, is set to host a variety of events. They include fursuit dances, team games, and live music. The idea came into fruition after the CEO, Chise, helped raise over $9,000 for BIPOC communities over a four hour period during a charity stream.
“The idea was tossed around in the past and after seeing how well our stream did, we thought that if the BIPOC community could come together and make such an astronomical amount in four hours, imagine what we could do at a convention,” said Chise. “Not to mention it has been long strived for to have a BIPOC-led con board to help meet the needs and wants of a diverse fandom.”
She also felt as though concerns from the community around these issues have been ignored. “I think a lot of the concerns of those in the BIPOC community have gone unheard. Whether it is them feeling uncomfortable concerning hate groups that may be attending a convention or the lack of representation on certain con boards, this con seeks to eliminate those negative feelings.”
A small group of people on Twitter voiced their concerns about the con and even tagged the developers of the Harvest Moon video game series, Natsume, in hopes to stir up disapproval. The company voiced support for the convention, but one commenter complained that it was “sad to see that Natsume supports racial segregation.” These misconceptions about the convention being only for BIPOC have been quickly quashed by the con board.
The CEO said that they are committed to stopping the spread of these lies. “You’re hearing it straight from the horse’s mouth. Our convention is open to absolutely everyone regardless of their race. Unless you hear it from myself or my board, it isn’t valid information.”
It took approximately a week to set out the initial plans for the convention. “I am the type of person when I have an idea and a vision, I don’t stop,” said Chise.
With over 6,000 responses to the first announcement, expect a bright rise for the first Harvest Moon Howl Fest in Maryland in the Fall of 2022.
This report first appeared on Dogpatch Press.
**Editor’s note: As of 16/7/2020 1:05am UTC+8, Harvest Moon FurFest changed their name to Harvest Moon Howl Fest, in respect to Midwest FurFest’s intellectual property policies and interests.