Hi, my name Victoria Coker, I am the founder of Black Web Fest, a native New Yorker, and an Interledger 2021 grantee. I was blessed to receive a travel grant to attend the ILP Summit. I wanted to attend to really connect with the community. I joined the community during the pandemic, so this was the opportunity to meet the creators and builders in person.
Saturday, November 12th I took the stage with other grantees on a panel titled "Broadening Financial... what does that mean?" Sharon Wang led the panel and also featured Erica Hargreave, Andrés Arauz, and Karl Carter. Each panelist shared their experience and the need in their community for financial inclusion. The panel was a great conversation starter among other attendees. After I participated in a session "Life After the Grant". During the session, we had an open conversation on how to build sustainable organizations and shared resources.
The event began that night with a Welcome Reception and Demo Party. The conference was conveniently located in the hotel. Current grantees were set up throughout the hall with demos and materials about their work. I was delighted to learn about the unique projects from across the globe. The demos made it visible that Interledger is building infrastructure to make web monetization more accessible for the growing ecosystem.
Sunday was the final day of the conference. That day we took a group photo to memorialize the event. Erin Brown, Former Acting Chief Diversity Officer of the United States Agency for International Development, led a presentation titled "The 5Ps of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)". One slide stood out an image of two children watching a baseball game on milk crates. Erin used it to visualize why underserved communities may need equity over equality. It provided an illustration of how systematically oppressed communities need more support to reach success.
Another highlight for me was watching a session led by college seniors from Bowie State University, an HBCU (Historically Black Universities or Colleges) in Baltimore, Maryland. The Interledger Foundation funded an undergrad course with students exploring open payment technologies, digital financial systems and issues in eCommerce. Through the program, students were challenged to create businesses that leveraged web monetization technology. Briana shared that the Interledger Foundation would continue to support this program's progress with the HBCU.
I was surprised one of the participants, filmmaker and web developer Ivan Mbakop, from the Black Web Fest x Web Monetization program attended the conference. Watching the community welcome Ivan is one of the reasons I believe that the Interledger Foundation is fostering one of the most inclusive communities.
Next year, I would like to present a session or participate on other panels. It would be cool to lead a workshop as well. I am open to finding different ways to support the community, including getting other diverse creators and builders to attend.
Post event I have shared my particpation on social media including my LinkedIn and Twitter account. I plan to continue the conversation about the work Interledger Foundation is doing and supporting the global community.
I connected with several members of the community, speakers, and attendees. I have reached out to a few of the contacts I made. I am also open to anyone who asks to connect with me, don't be shy. I plan on continuing to share resources and supporting others.