Black Lives Matter and standing up for marginalized voices in publishing

Last week, I took part in #PitMad on June 4. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, but I’m really glad I did. It’s changed so much since I last participated in 2014. I had so much fun retweeting others’ pitches all day, and am super proud of #PitMad creating the #BVM hashtag for black writers. It was heart-warming to see so many wonderful pitches for imaginative and thrilling stories coming from black creators, and to see agents open up their inboxes for them.

Beautiful illustration by Charlot Kristensen (@Zolwia on Twitter). She kindly gave me permission to repost her work in this blog post.

As everyone knows, it’s been a tumultuous past couple of weeks across the nation (and the world) on top of the Covid pandemic. So much more needs to be done. I am really happy that there is open dialogue within the publishing industry.

#PublishingPaidMe was crazy eye-opening. Cindy Pon shocked me, and learning what she earned broke my heart.

This. Triggers. Me. SO. MUCH.

You have no idea how many Asian novels, if they existed, I read growing up were written by white authors. I won’t name any, but why do white authors feel that they get to write about us? And get paid more while they’re at it? Exploitation much?

Thank you Cindy Pon for paving the way for Asian representation and Asian voices years before #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #Ownvoices hashtags existed! A lot has changed. There’s more to be done, and I’m excited to contribute to this space. I didn’t think that I could make much of an impact, but seeing what fellow Asian authors have achieved empowered me to dust off my shelved dreams and power on.

Which brings me to this: last week, the founder of the agency Red Sofa Literary, Dawn Frederick, made a statement on Twitter showing that she does not care for the plight of POC. I Tweeted this in response to her:

Naturally, the agents working at her agency left, and she decided to sue the agents she claims defamed her. You can read more and donate here to their GoFundMe. I refuse to stand aside and stay silent when marginalized voices in the publishing industry are attacked.

Also linking Black Lives Matter and the Navajo & Hopi Families COVID-19 Relief for donations. Times are hard, and we marginalized communities should support and uplift each other in these trying times.

I’ll end this post with one quote that meant something to me today. I hope it does for you too.

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