Journal of the Month recognizes that although the pandemic has been challenging for all of us, the hardest hit communities are pervasively comprised of BIPOC, an outcome that results directly from racist policies that govern our country. The unjust killings of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain and so many more Black people and the international uprising they prompted have demanded that we call out and actively work to change systems that apportion justice inequitably and remove symbols that demean Black Americans. Being a vocal ally is not enough.
We at Journal of the Month believe that Black Lives Matter. Racism targeted at BIPOC damages all of us. Our work as an organization is meaningful because readers trust us to amplify the voices of our time and we take that responsibility as seriously as we do our commitment to being antiracist, which means recognizing the power of bias, unconscious and otherwise, and committing to the work of dismantling it in ourselves and our circle of influence, however wide or narrow it reaches.
We’ve taken a hard look at Journal of the Month, and we see places where we can improve. Over the next year, we will add to our participant list 2 or more high-quality, emerging print literary journals that are both run primarily by BIPOC and focus on publishing writers who are BIPOC. We will enrich our collection of prestigious journals by including equally-stellar, lesser-known journals that champion voices that do not yet have a large audience. The extensive process of adding new journals to our list begins with a careful read of the journal in question. If you, our readers, instructors, and journal editors, know of journals suited to our standards and ambition that we should consider, please share them with us.
We have also made changes to the images on our website to ensure that we feature people who look more like our readers, editors, and instructors, which is to say racially and culturally diverse. We apologize for not having made this correction sooner.
In closing, I leave you with an interview called Wading Through the Whitestream: A Conversation about Writing and Publishing When You Aren’t White that’s as applicable today as it was when it was published three years ago. In it, BIPOC writers Tanushree Baidya, Jennifer De Leon, and Jonathan Escoffery describe their impressions of the publishing industry and barriers they’ve encountered as responses to questions posed by me. Keep an eye out for more writing by these up-and-coming authors, particularly Jennifer De Leon’s debut novel Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From, due for release this August 18th.
We share a love of literary journals and a desire to be influenced by the art and artists they raise up. Thank you for valuing what we do and strive to do better.