Our editorial staff got together this summer to talk about Black lives, the pandemic, toxic discourse, and an upcoming election that could forever break the spine of this country. We asked ourselves: How might we leverage these pages as a force for progress, right here and right now?
Our answer: Be specific, be real, get out the vote, and then get out of the way.
By specific, we mean to elevate specific BIPOC voices. Y’all should know about Danez Smith in particular. They are a Black, Queer, Poz writer and performer from St. Paul, and a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective. We are especially smitten with two of their poems, dear white america (from their collection Don’t Call Us Dead, Greywolf Press, 2017), and summer, somewhere (first published in Poetry, January 2016). Please get these words into your eyes.
Y’all should also know about Call + Response Journal, founded in 2018 as a place where “creatives of color could confidently submit their work to a journal crafted just for them.” Led by Veronica Elizabeth Thomas, it’s a beautiful platform and we ask each of our readers to spend some quality time on their site.
By real, we mean that real money needs to flow into Black American communities. Accordingly, we are donating the entirety of the profits from this issue to the Movement for Black Lives. It isn’t much, and it won’t be enough, but their work is too important to ignore. Learn more about their advocacy, and if you have the funds, head up to the upper right corner and hit that donate button.
By get out the vote, we mean just that. We encourage each of our American readers to check their voter registration now (seriously, put down the issue and go look). At stake are countless lives; at stake because of racist immigration policies that seek to drive out some of those most in need of safety; at stake because of brutal policing and autocratic displays of force; and at stake because of an unwillingness to accept the basic science and common sense that could have prevented the pandemic from burning wild in the United States. For the sake of all those lives, we must vote. It has never been more important to stand up for what is right.
Finally, we mean to get out of the way, and let other voices hold this space, as they so regularly and wonderfully do within our pages. Reading other people’s perspectives is a machine for creating empathy. So until our next issue… good luck out there, everyone. Pick righteous fights and get into good trouble when you can.