Thursday, June 4, 2020

Lin Oliver's Message to SCBWI Members Expressing Support for Justice for Black People Everywhere

This was published in the June 2, 2020 SCBWI Insight eNewsletter.

Dear Members,

As we bear witness to the events taking place across our country, the SCBWI Executive Committee would like to express our support for justice for Black people everywhere. We create books for children, books that will influence what kind of adults this generation of children will become. It is unacceptable to ignore racial inequity and systems that continue to oppress the Black community. At SCBWI, we are examining our policies and executing plans to increase programs and actions that promote more inclusivity and equity.

We applaud the contributions of our African-American members who create books that provide perspective on our history, who are developing a canon of work that tells the untold stories from the point of view of many people, not just the majority. Yet we acknowledge that these voices are still underrepresented in our membership. We can do better to boost this important work and these talented creators, and we will.

Personally, I feel this is a time for those of us who are white to look within to examine our own attitudes and behaviors about race, to think deeply about what biases we may be harboring, and to reflect on how we can use our intellectual, emotional, and financial resources to boost the struggle against long-standing racial injustice. Every member of the dominant culture needs to find new ways to listen, learn, and take action. Look to your work to model values you believe in. Look to your community for ways you can use your access to send a strong message or promote change. If you can, donate to organizations that support Black lives; SCBWI has compiled a list of organizations where you can contribute. I myself have donated to several organizations that stand for equity and inclusion, and I know members of our Board of Advisors are doing the same. My hope is that all of us will do what we can to reduce the gap between “us” and “them” and know that in safeguarding human rights for one group, we are safeguarding them for everyone.

We are influential. We are powerful. Let’s commit to using our power to acknowledge injustice, to struggle against prejudice, and to take a stand.

Lin Oliver
Executive Director

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