A Message from the ATLIS Board of Directors Regarding the Annual Conference in Florida

Over the past several weeks, the ATLIS board of directors and staff have been actively monitoring the legislative landscape in the state of Florida, the host state of our 2022 Annual Conference in Orlando. Recently, the Florida state legislature’s passage of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill gives us great concern, as does any other local, state, or Federal legislation that promotes division and discrimination. 

ATLIS is committed at every level of our practice to demonstrate our dedication to creating a diverse and inclusive association. The Florida bill does not reflect our community’s values and we offer our sincere support to the LGBTQIA+ community. We hear and appreciate those of you who have reached out to the association directly to express your perspective and concern.

For associations of our size, hotel agreements for conferences are often signed multiple years in advance in order to lock in affordable rates for our attendees. At this late date, just several weeks before our event, cancellation of our contract would result in a financial penalty equal to 100% of our association’s commitment with the property. Thus, we are choosing to move forward with our obligation with the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld.

We are committed to ensuring that every conference attendee is able to experience our professional community to the fullest extent we can provide. In order to create the type of inclusive community that is important to our association, our leadership is committed to the following actions

·  Our staff is actively working in partnership with our host hotel, the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, to ensure that all spaces at our conference, both physical and emotional, remain inclusive of all the salient identities our attendees bring to ATLIS.

·  In cooperation with Orlando convention and visitors’ bureau,Visit Orlando, ATLIS is researching a list of LGBTQIA-owned and LGBTQIA-friendly businesses. We encourage attendees to spend their conference dollars in Orlando with businesses that are actively choosing inclusion and standing in support with those most impacted by these legislative efforts.

·  We will engage in a review of all future contracts the association has signed with our upcoming host properties to identify ways we can be more clear about our association’s commitment to equity and inclusion, and the expectations around equity and inclusion of our host properties.

·  ATLIS is researching local LGBTQIA+ nonprofits so we can make donations on behalf of our community.

While ATLIS has entered into agreements with properties for future conferences, no new agreements are actively under consideration at this time. This provides our association an opportunity to strategize in the ways in which we can continue to host our conference in locations that are likely to support the type of inclusive and equitable communities we value.

We also call on all members and conference attendees to offer other creative ways in which our association can gather as a community in Orlando while also remaining committed to our values. Please feel free to reach out to Christina Lewellen, our executive director, with your thoughts.

Thank you.

ATLIS Board of Directors