We write to you, along with so many others, from a place of mourning and anger, to say loudly and clearly that Black lives matter. In a matter of weeks, we’ve seen the murder of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Tony McDade at the hands of an unjust system. As Claudia Rankine writes, “Because white men can’t / police their imagination / black men are dying.” Those we have named are not the only people whose lives have been lost to systemic racism and violence directed toward the Black community. There are many whose stories have not been told, whose names have not been spoken during protests, and these facts, these deaths, these conditions are unacceptable. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
In publishing, we believe in the power of art and literature to uplift voices and create change. Literature is an ongoing conversation, one in which works from a variety of voices are necessarily in dialogue with one another, even when that dialogue becomes difficult. This moment in history is one such conversation, and it demands that we continue to talk with and hold one another and ourselves accountable for our words, actions, and participation. We pledge to be active participants in uplifting the Black community both inside and outside of the arts. We commit to continually educating ourselves about systemic racism, recognizing the ways in which we participate in it, and using our platforms to share Black voices, resources, and ways to take action. We acknowledge that this fight for Black lives will not be an easy one, and we are committed to using our platforms to support Black lives and Black writing and to further the conversation. This is neither the beginning nor the end of the work that we at the Center for Literary Publishing and Colorado Review have to do; the systemic problems of police brutality and white supremacy affect the larger BIPOC community in its entirety, and our commitment extends just as far. We hope that you will join us in the coming days to continue dismantling the systemic racism in our global culture, our country, and in our own literary community.