By Jen Bonardi
Talk about a disaster! It was 2008. I was on the board of the Bisexual Resource Center (BRC) and our website was hacked. This was one of our best resources for bi+ folks, so we needed to get it back up immediately. Once we did, I started a bi+ advice column in the hopes that it would drive traffic to the site. And it did—in fact, the Ask Tiggy advice column eventually led to even more resources for the bi+ community.
Being hacked was a drag, but it ended up furthering our reach. Each new incarnation of the worldwide web—listservs, social media platforms, the MeetUp app—assembles a wider community of bi+ people and allows the BRC to serve them in a more direct and tailored fashion.
The COVID pandemic was an even bigger drag, but it did normalize meeting over Zoom. In many ways, this was advantageous for the BRC’s support groups and especially for its board meetings. When the board went nationwide, it could strategize around bi+ programming needs all over the U.S. However, it’s not simply reaching community members that matters; an organization needs the capacity to serve the people it reaches.
With that in mind, the BRC launched its Honeycomb volunteer corps this year. The Honeycomb infrastructure, which includes critical elements like Zoom and Discord, yielded more than 20 active volunteers in the first six months. BRC board members are now proposing projects they never even considered before, because they can now count on skilled, motivated assistance. Not least of the Honeycomb’s benefits is that it gives bi+ people across the country an outlet to give back. Teamwork makes the dream work and, for certain, the internet enables our team to work.
I wonder whether we could have come this far without the internet. I’m reminded of Martin Luther King Jr.’s right-hand man, Bayard Rustin, who organized The March on Washington where King delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech. Here’s the kicker: he did it with nothing but landline telephones.
Well, I’m bi…but I’m no Bayard. I need the communications superpowers that the internet provides. It allows us to jump the hurdles of time and space to connect with each other in organizing, in community, in friendship. What a time to be alive!
Jen Bonardi is the BRC’s Volunteer Manager. If you are in the United States and would like to join the Honeycomb, please apply here: http://bit.ly/JoinHoneycomb.