Cirsova Publishing, Novelist Jon Del Arroz, And Other Authors Condemn Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Black Lives Matter Action Plan

Cirsova Publishing, novelist Jon Del Arroz, and other authors issue statements condemning the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s (SFWA) newly announced Black Lives Matter Policy.

The official SFWA Twitter account announced their new policy stating, “The Board of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America unanimously approves the attached statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, & action plan to support the careers of Black writers of science fiction and fantasy.”

They then shared three images with a more in-depth statement.

In their first statement they issued their support for Black Lives Matter.

It begins, “People ask how worlds like Octavia Butler’s Parable of Sower can exist. It happens through the slow creep of power aided by the complacency of those shielded by their position in society.”

The statement continues, “It is not enough to have an anti-harassment policy and call that good. We must work for equity and diversity to make sure that underrepresented voices are heard, to increase inclusion in the genre of science fiction and fantasy, in the larger ecosystem of publishing, in our writing community, and in life.”

This statement concludes with a support for Black Lives Matter, “We support Black Lives Matter and the protestors who are seeking justice for centuries of white supremacy and police brutality.”

The next statement begins, “We acknowledge that SFWA has historically ignored, and in too many instances reinforced the injustices, systemic barriers, and unaddressed racism, particularly toward Black people, that have contributed to this moment.”

It continues, “We have allowed those who spoke for change in SFWA to be drowned out by those who clung to the status quo. We have a responsibility to admit our failings and to continually commit to dismantling these oppressive and harmful systems, both within this organization and ourselves.”

Finally they outlined a plan of action the organization plans to take.

It begins, “These are the actions that SFWA is taking as first steps to clean our own house and work towards making our community safer for Black writers.”

They then list out the first steps:

  • For the month of June, 100% of registrations for the 2020 Nebula Convention Online content will go directly to the Carl Brandon Society and the Black Speculative Fiction Society.
  • We are creating a matching program for the 2020 Nebula Convention Online so that each registration purchased this month creates a seat for a Black writer.
  • For the next year, we are waiving fees for SFWA membership for Black writers.
  • We are waiving registration fees for next year’s Nebula conference attendance for Black writers.
  • We are creating a travel fund to help defer the costs of Black writers attending the Nebula conference.
  • We are committing to reaching out to Black-led science fiction and fantasy organizations about applying for the additional grant money that we have available.

In a post to their website they would elaborate even further.

Their statement continued, “Many of us are feeling helpless in the face of racist terror, but there are ways for all of us to do our part with the time, money, and resources we have available. Our choices matter now more than ever. ”

“What we know from writing science fiction and fantasy is that the present we find ourselves in was avoidable but our nation chose not to avoid it. We can still choose a just and equal future, if we work together as a community to dismantle white supremacy,” it added.

They then encourage people to donate to a list of organizations curated by Black Lives Matter.

That list includes:

  • Black Science Fiction Society
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction
  • Carl Brandon Society
  • Black Tribbles
  • People of Color in Publishing
  • I Need Diverse Games
  • We Need Diverse Books

In response to these statements and the action plan, Cirsova Publishing condemned SFWA for discrimination and also declared that they “condemn the support of domestic terrorism in which this act of ‘supporting minorities’ is couched.”

They wrote on Twitter, “As the Hispanic editor of a highly diverse publication, we condemn any form of discrimination based on race, gender, ethnicity, or other immutable characteristics!”

They added, “We also condemn the support for domestic terrorism in which this act of “supporting minorities” is couched.”

Novelist Jon Del Arroz, the author of Colony Launch and The Saga of the Nano Templar trilogy, also condemned SFWA describing their action plan as “blatant racism.”

He also described their plan as “an insult to African Americans claiming they are not capable of paying their dues and also discriminatory against non-black races.” He reiterated, “I strongly condemn SFWA’s racism.”

In a post to his blog, Del Arroz reiterated, “I condemn this blatant racist behavior by Mary Robinette Kowal and her board in the strongest terms possible. Giving preferential treatment based on race flies in the face of everything the United States of America stands for, and this kind of blatant bigotry against all but one race must be challenged at every turn.”

Speaking to Bounding Into Comics, Del Arroz stated, “I categorically disavow the blatant racism on display by Mary Robinette Kowal and her cronies in SFWA. This is discrimination based on race, which is illegal under several California statutes, and I will be investigating into legal solutions to ensure all authors’ civil rights are protected.”

Others responded to SFWA’s statement and action plan on Twitter.

Jennifer Marie Brissett, the author of Elysium wrote, “How about dealing with the fact that several of SFWA approved magazines STILL have 0% black writers in them — an issue brought to your attention YEARS ago by myself and others and the #BlackSpecFic Reports?”

She added, “Black ppl don’t want your charity. We want equal and fair treatment.”

One Twitter user responded writing, “Very clever. Using condescending racism to fight racism. Then you’ll have more racism either way.” They added, “All lives matter. The alternative is racism.”

SFWA President Mary Robinette Kowal responded, “All lives matter is racist bullshit. F*** you and your trolling ass.”

Kit Sun Cheah, the author of Dungeon Samurai and Babylon Blues also condemned SFWA’s action plan.

He wrote, “As a writer of Chinese descent, I condemn SFWA’s blatant racism and discriminatory policies.” He added, “Equality means equality for all — or there will be equality for none.”

Yakov Merkin, the author of the Galaxy Ascendant series and The Dragon King trilogy, also condemned SFWA. He wrote, “As a Jewish author of North African descent, I condemn SFWA’s racist & discriminatory policy.”

Merkin added, “I don’t feel welcome by this organization that purports to support minorities. Privileging one racial group over another is about as racist as it gets.”

Author Louie Lozano of the short stories Liftoff or Under the Sky, So Blue and What’s in a Name, also described SFWA’s action plan as racistm.

He wrote, “I resent SFWA’s blatant racism. To do this for one community they must do for all disadvantaged and marginalized writers like myself. What does the SFWA have against Latinos, Asians, and others?”

**Editor’s Note: Jon Del Arroz has previously written for Bounding Into Comics in the past.**

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