The Alaska Humanities Forum website boasts of being a diverse and inclusive organization “committed to designing and hosting programs that include people of all identities.” That said, the nonprofit is hosting a presentation in August, which intentionally excludes white people from a conversation on race relations.

The Alaska Humanities Forum website, however, goes to great lengths in attempting to show how open it is to diversity, claiming that its organizational vision is one where Alaskans from culturally diverse backgrounds are “engaged, informed, and connected.”

“This vision is only achievable when accessibility is a priority,” the website adds. “At the Forum, we are committed to designing and hosting programs that include people of all identities, abilities, and economic backgrounds. We recognize that accessibility and inclusivity work is ongoing, and requires a continued and open discussion.”

In order to attend the opening day of the Aug. 6-7 event, attendees must identify as either black, indigenous or a person of color (BIPOC). It’s not until day two that whites are welcome to join the conversation.

Megan Cacciola, who serves as vice president of programs for the Alaska Humanities Forum, said the idea to keep white people out of the opening day came from the main presenter Mistinguette Smith of the Black/Land Project. Smith facilitates similar conversations around the country, where she regularly excludes whites, Cacciola said.

The goal, according to Cacciola is to create a space where non-whites can feel “more comfortable” by being with people who are “like them.” She added that Alaska Humanities Forum expects whites to honor the fact that the opening day “wasn’t made for them.”


— Those who wish to offer feedback and recommendations on how the Alaska Humanities Forum can improve, are invited by the organization to send an email to Director of Operations Kari Lovett at or call her at (907) 770-8419.

— Click here to view contact information for the entire staff at Alaska Humanities Forum.

— To register for the Aug. 16-17 event, click here.

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AK Humanities Forum’s exclusion of whites undercuts its inclusivity pledge

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.