We read romance because we believe joy, connection and love can heal humanity. But we don’t have joy in us right now. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and countless others should be alive today. People in the news and people hidden from it, people who loved and were loved, have died because of white supremacy. This moment is a test of our collective humanity, a test we’ve failed over and over again. It is not enough to be sad and angry. It is vital that we act.
We will do our very best to amplify the voices of activists and anti-racist organizations. Here are some small ways you can start to help:
1. Follow the work of @rachel.cargle, @mspackyetti, @ibramxk, @laylafsaad and @ijeomaoluo. Those are their Instagram handles.
2. Donate to community bail funds for the protesters putting their bodies on the line during a pandemic. Start with @mnfreedomfund and @blmlouisville Community Bail Fund.
3. Donate to anti-racist organizations such as @splcenter, @raicestexas, @colorofchange and your local @blklivesmatter chapter.
4. Remember that it is not just the crises making national news. @theblackfairygodmotherofficial organizes small fundraisers for families with urgent needs. @thelovelandfoundation funds mental health care for black women and girls. @thenapministry advocates for rest as a tool to dismantle white supremacist capitalism.
5. Call out racism when you see it, especially in your own families and communities. Make racists uncomfortable. Even if it’s a racist you love, love them better by not tolerating their racism. And remember that children are never too young to be educated about anti-racism.
6. Unlearn racist conditioning. Delete the phrase “I’m not a racist” from your vocabulary. We’re reading “Me and White Supremacy” by Layla F. Saad. Owning your own stuff is a great place to start.
7. Make sure your bookshelf reflects the world. Publishing does a terrible job with inclusivity, and romance is not exempt. See: @therippedbodice State of Racial Diversity in Romance Publishing Report. Romance is not trivial — fiction is a powerful tool to teach empathy. Black authors and stories deserve a place on your bookshelf.
Black lives matter. Our love to all. — Liz and Meg