Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Diversity Initiatives: SCBWI Illinois' Diverse New Member Pathway

In this new Diversity Initiatives series, we'll be highlighting cool, inspiring, and replicable programs that are happening in SCBWI chapters around the world towards making children's literature more diverse, both the characters and the creators!

Today's post is from SCBWI Illinois New Member Chairperson and Diversity Committee Member Urania Smith, who writes in to tell us about their Diverse New Member Pathway:

SCBWI-IL has launched several initiatives in the past couple of years aimed to support diverse writers and illustrators. 2017 is the inaugural year of our new program, Diverse New Member Pathway. This outreach initiative gives members of underrepresented groups in the larger Illinois writing community, the opportunity to win a one year membership to SCBWI. In addition, the new member gets the benefits of having a peer guide to help them garner the most of their membership. Our 2017 Diverse New Member Pathway Peer Guide is Crystal Chan, author of Bird.

During a six month time frame, Crystal will meet with the new member, answer questions about SCBWI events and opportunities, attend a SCBWI-IL event with the new member, and help them connect with their closest Illinois Network. Our primary goal is to make the new member feel at home and to help forge a relationship with a seasoned writer that can aide them on their path.

When forming the DNMP, the diversity committee recognized that joining such a large organization as SCBWI can be overwhelming and complex to navigate for new members. We also realized these feelings can be multiplied for people in groups who are not typically represented in the publishing industry.

For me, forming connections with other writers and illustrators is the best part of being a member of SCBWI, so it's important to make our members feel like they have a place in our organization.

Urania Smith
New Member Chairperson & Diversity Committee Member

You can find out more about the Diverse New Member Pathway initiative here, and if you're an Illinois-region writer and/or illustrator who wants to apply, note the submission deadline is March 15.

Illustrate and Write On,

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