To: RWA Board of Directors, currently listed as
Treasurer Nan Dixon
Directors-at-Large Hanna Rhys Barnes, Kate McMurray, Maria Powers, Mellanie Szereto, Eliana West
Regarding: consumer stance on RWA leadership
While we do not represent a formal organization and do not claim to represent the entirety of romance readers in the US and internationally, we the undersigned believe we have a vested interest in the outcome of the current RWA scandal. While the voices and demands of the authors and RWA members must be front and center regarding this issue, we are determined to occupy our own space in the wider romance community. As a non-organized collection of individual consumers, we stand with Courtney Milan, the leadership of CIMRWA , the RWA members who have resigned in protest and the many RWA members who have spoken out against what is clearly an entrenched culture of marginalization within the RWA.
We recognize that we cannot make demands on issues regarding internal RWA bylaws, procedure and matters of membership and employment. We cannot and will not demand resignations or future policy, as this is the exclusive purview of dues-paying members and leadership.
However, as the end consumers of the product the organization deals with, we do believe we have a very real stake in the future of the RWA. Many of us are angered to discover that we have been systematically denied the vision of authors of color and authors belonging to marginalized groups. To be perfectly clear, we are not exclusively angered on behalf of those who sought to bring their own voice to the genre and were kept from doing so. We are additionally angered on our own behalf, those of us who were denied representation of our own voice as well as those who were denied a chance to learn about the experiences and voices of others with different life experiences from our own.
Both as dedicated readers of the genre and informed consumers, we wish to communicate to the current and future RWA leadership the following:
- chiefly, we stand with marginalized authors who work tirelessly to bring us their vision and voice and have been denied this opportunity due to entrenched bigotry with the RWA and the wider romance community
- we believe and support those speaking out about past instances of bigotry within the RWA, going back much further than the current scandal
- we believe that the RWA leadership as it stands has proven itself incapable of the change and understanding necessary to rectify these mistakes in a reasonable time frame
While it is not our right or duty to make demands of RWA members or leadership, nor to offer unsolicited solutions, we felt it important to contribute our own perspective to the ongoing discussion. It is our sincere hope that our perspective will be valuable to those empowered to vote within the RWA and thus decide its future.