Recognizing the history and pattern of racism in the publishing industry that has suppressed and minimized the voices of Black writers and other writers of color, the Authors Guild Council and Authors Guild Foundation Board on June 25 unanimously passed a resolution to commit resources to diversity and equity in the organizations’ internal operations and programming. The resolution authorizes the Authors Guild and the Authors Guild Foundation to:
- Create programs and policies to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally and in the programmatic work of both organizations;
- Establish a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) committee with the goal of implementing comprehensive DEI policies and procedures, including through retention of a consultant;
- Issue anti-racism statements publicly and internally; and
- Develop programs promoting the voices of Black authors and other authors of color.
In adopting this resolution, the Authors Guild Council and Authors Guild Foundation Board affirm that “great harm has been done to Black people and other people of color as a result of this country’s racist history, and part of that harm is reflected in the way in which Black people have been portrayed in our nation’s literature as well as the suppression of Black authors’ voices, which are not adequately reflected in the nation’s literary canon.” Because it is part of the Guild’s and the Foundation’s respective missions to advocate for all authors published in the U.S. and foster diverse voices in American literature to ensure that a rich, diverse body of literature can flourish, the Guild Council and Foundation Board believe that the two organizations “can and should play a role in addressing concerns of diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally and in their programmatic work.”
Lee & Low’s Diversity Baseline Survey provides a stark picture about the whiteness of mainstream publishing, and, along with other recent events, demonstrates why it is so necessary for us to act, and to act now. The Guild realizes that such efforts will take a great deal of work not only on the part of its Council and staff but by its members to ensure that the Guild and its various activities, opportunities, and events remain a welcoming environment for all.