Abstract of Talk by Dr.Lee Lorch, appearing in the AMS Volume

"A Century of Mathematical Meetings, edited by Dr. Bettye Anne Case

The Painful Path Toward Inclusiveness

Dr. Lee Lorch
Department of Mathematics
York University
North York, Ontario M3J 1P3  Canada

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The conduct, locations, and non-locations of our meetings impact heavily upon specific components of the membership. The Business Meetings can influence policy. Some have reflected concerns over issues which the leadership had passed over: overt racism, lack of welcome to women, absence of democratic procedures, etc. These worries even led to the coalescing of formal organizations in the period 1969-72: The Mathematicians Action Group (MAG), the National Association of Mathematicians (NAM), the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM). NAM and AWM remain busy yet, their primary issues still pressing. It took years of effort to establish the principle that meetings should be held only where all members are welcome, comfortable, and safe. For Blacks, this was resolved only several years after the first demands in 1951. By 1994, thanks to such earlier precedents, it was recognized promptly in the case of homosexuals.

This paper reminisces on these and related matters as experienced by the writer as participant. It recalls business meetings which have led to significant changes in policies previously set by the AMS Council.

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