The 7th annual Geek Awards took place this past weekend at the String Theory Schools. Amazing event, great people, and extraordinary things that I will remember for a very long time.
5. Superheroes are an integral part of any event's success
Okay so, let's just establish a few things. Superheroes are real. They live amongst us. If you don't read comics (THEN YOU SHOULD) or watch superhero shows/movies (AGAIN, WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE), it is proven research (not really) that you're depriving your inner self of divine happiness.
I got to see Batman (kinda, BUT DID ANYBODY SEE THAT TINY CAPE CHRIS WAS WEARING), Wonder Woman (shout out to my good friend, Amber), Doctor Strange (who appropriately didn't really care about me), Wanda Wilson (female counterpart of Deadpool from Earth-3010), and Seraphina Picquery (she's ... just Google it). That wasn't all - there were others that I regretfully missed. Their presence at the Geek Awards, in my opinion, really made the event lively. It was almost like seeing a celebrity and then pointing fingers at them with a giggly smile. So, to everyone who dressed up as superheroes, THANK YOU.
4. Technology used with food is very sexy
Technology makes me smile, curious, and words that might make you uncomfortable. But when you use it to make food that makes you cry because it looks so beautiful and then makes you cry even harder because it tastes so good, you know you're at an event co-organized by Technical.ly and Geekadelphia. 6 out of 5 stars.
3. Geek Awards event team are sorcerers
Geek Awards used to happen at the Academy of Natural Sciences. The venue is amazing, it has turtles, snakes, butterflies, even dinosaurs (they're kinda dead though). But what people usually don't think of at first is that the venue already comes with all the geekiness. It's like Betty Crocker. It's great and all, works well, saves you time but the true excitement lies in doing something completely from scratch.
Now, when I was told Geek Awards are going to take place at a school, I was like "...really?" (more like WHAT ARE THESE PEOPLE THINKING). But the way the event team turned an empty lobby, a couple of empty rooms, and the auditorium into something that was not only very pleasing to my eyes but also my ears (I mean come on, there was a giant harp there - and it was played VERY well), is true sorcery. Kudos, event team (hello, Alex).
2. Philly has more awesome people than any city
This is probably not a good heading since I'm moving to Chicago. But whatever. It's very important to know about your community. It's even more important to know what drives it, what makes it awesome, and what makes you proud of it. For Philly, it's the people.
At the Geek Awards, you get to meet the amazing nominees and participants who are basically just crazy people. Each one of the people at the event was at least told once they can't do something they wanted to do. But they did it. They are so driven by their passion and motivation that they are ready to stand up against the odds, speak up when it matters, and make the community they live in, and arguably the world, a much better place. Congratulations - all the nominees, winners, and Philly residents. For me, you're the awesomest (my editing software is telling me it's "most awesome" BUT NO IT'S AWESOMEST) people that any city could ever have. And Geek Awards - thanks for bringing everyone together.
During the course of the night, the word "inclusive" was used at least 9 times. Technical.ly, Generocity, and Geekadelphia, together, did a great job in organizing the Geek Awards and recognizing the contributions of women, people of color, and the LBGTQIA community. But there's one more community that has suffered from lack of recognition - the community of people with disabilities.
I have attended the Geek Awards since 2014. Every year I go there with the hope to find at least one more person with a disability in the midst of 400 people who share the same goal of making Philly a better place. And every year I get disappointed. This year wasn't different.
In an event that centers around "inclusiveness", I find it a bit unsettling that none of the projects, initiatives, products (with the exception of Me.Mory), people, missions, organizations, partnerships, even (and especially) presenters were representatives of the world of people with disabilities (which is basically the same world we all live in). 14 awards, 43 nominees, 100s of attendees (which is this year alone) and the event only had one pair of wheels rolling around, no white canes, and no sign language interpreters (hoping to see closed captions if an official video is released). Either we've failed to recognize that such a world exists or may be people with disabilities have contributed nothing to the Philly community. I am heavily inclined to believe it is not the latter. However, I must applaud the presence of special accommodations request on the event ticketing site but the fact that such events still lack the presence of people with disabilities opens up an opportunity for a much broader discussion, which is right up the alley of Technical.ly and Generocity.
I also strongly suggest the start of a conversation where the word "inclusive" really means inclusive. For all the years I have lived with a disability, I am guilty of not speaking up and not being the change I want to see in this world. I hope to change that through this post. My time in Philly, a city I will always call home, is coming to an end during which I have enjoyed being an advocate and a bridge between technology and people with disabilities. Technical.ly, Generocity, Geekadelphia, and the city of Philadelphia - it's time for you to find a new Ather, preferably multiple Athers. And I assure you there are thousand times better Athers out there. :)
Having said all that, if you missed the Geek Awards (WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO YOURSELF), you missed a hell of an event. Next year, you've got to be there. I mean, like, cancel all your plans, weddings, birthday parties, your trip to the moon (hi, Raheem), whatever you have going on in your lives (unless you're eating a donut or watching a Man United game), quit it, just quit it, and come to the Geek Awards. You will not regret it.
Published on: 28th August, 2017.