PubWest’s Board of Directors grieves with the Black community and its allies over Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Oscar Grant, and the countless other Black lives lost to systemic violence, oppression, and anti-Black racism in American society.
In these turbulent times, when racism and violence are mobilizing Americans and Canadians to take to the streets despite an unprecedented viral pandemic, PubWest supports:
- The Black community in its courageous battle against white supremacy and oppression in all forms.
- The activists, the volunteers, the leaders, and the followers who are risking their well-being to serve others.
- The artists whose work finds inspiration in today’s events, work that inspires us and will reveal itself in the great projects we can’t wait to read and experience.
PubWest, a trade association of small and mid-sized book publishers, printers, editors, distributors, graphic designers, binderies, and related service companies, celebrates the power books have to change the world. With that power, we have an obligation to make sure the books we publish and the businesses we run reflect the values we proclaim and want to see enacted.
As an organization, PubWest acknowledges that we have not done enough to grapple with our own inaction and silence, which help to keep the current oppressive systems of power in place. We recognize the dire need to diversify our own industry, and to that end, we commit now to the following actions:
- Making PubWest memberships available free for one year to Black Americans/Canadians in the publishing industry who apply and request assistance with membership fees in the next two fiscal years. After 2022, we will continue to offer up to five free memberships per year more broadly to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) in the publishing industry, with the goal of continuing to increase and sustain diversity within the PubWest community.
- Launching this fall, the creation of a fund to which member publishers, publishing-related companies, and others can donate money or other resources to support paid internships for BIPOC at small, independent publishers.
- Diversifying our board and board committee membership beginning with the next available seats, and never again presenting a slate of candidates that would result in an all-white Board of Directors
In addition to the actions above, we are further committing to the following:
- Prioritizing additional conference panels, roundtables, and other member programming focused on racial equity and diversity in the publishing industry, to encourage ideas, solutions, and brainstorming on current issues, further growth, and necessary action.
- Continuing to spread what we’ve learned about how to move the industry in a more inclusive direction with our members.
- Making space for conversations with any PubWest member who would like to press us to do better.
- Making space for any PubWest member who wants to learn how they can live their values more fully, no matter where they are on their personal journey.
In closing, we would like to acknowledge that this statement was not generated in a vacuum. It comes from the education we have received (directly and indirectly) from the myriad Black educators, organizers, and activists who have taken their time and energy to create resources, share their stories, and keep the conversation going. PubWest is making a clear commitment to continuing this work when the media moment has passed. While dismantling systems of power will not be accomplished in one fell swoop, by confronting racism and methods of exclusion in all sizes, shapes, and forms we can create the change this nation and all of its citizens deserve.