June 18, 2020
As an organization which believes in the power of words, we realize we haven’t said enough about the Black Lives Matter movement, racism, police brutality and in support of Black writers in our community and beyond. Within our organizing board, we have received feedback on how we can do better. We have been taking the time to listen, to learn more, and to compile a list of resources to begin the conversation.
As writers, there’s only one sentence we could write to begin: Black lives matter, have always mattered, and we need to do whatever we can to support the Black community.
We condemn systemic racism and oppression. We must all work towards an anti-racist future. We have to address systemic issues. We have to confront the internalized racism that is inside us and surrounds us. We must not close our eyes to what is going on in the world. We cannot remain silent about what happened to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arberty, Tony McDade, and countless others. We must unite to combat and dismantle racism and discrimination in all its forms and denounce race-related violence, including police brutality.
The Chicago Writers Association invites Black writers to tell us what you need to be supported within our community. What do you want to see? How can we partner with you in your writing journey?
To non-Black writers in our community, what resources can we provide for you so you can learn how to be a better ally?
Please let us know by sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We always encourage everyone to participate as a member of our community. Submit to our contests, submit to our journal, send queries to be featured as a guest writer on our blog. We want to hear your voices and support your writing. Have an idea for a writing workshop or an educational panel? Contact us. Given the state of distance because of COVID-19, we are exploring more options for virtual events and we are looking for ideas for future in-person events, when we can safely get together again. Have a book you want reviewed? Look into our book review service. There are numerous opportunities to participate in our community.
We will not pretend to know all the answers. We try to do the best we can as a writing organization to support everyone. Those who serve on our board are dedicated to the writing community and love meeting every person at our events, our conference, and online.
Here is a list of resources to get you started on understanding the Black Lives Matter movement, to be a better ally, and to support various organizations and funds:
- Black Lives Matter
- Black Lives Matter Chicago
- #BlackLivesMatter: Ways to Help
- Practice of the Practice’s BLM Resources Round Up
- Make Room’s BLM Resources
- Florida Elago’s Black Lives Matter Resources
- Donate to 70+ community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers
Illinois & Chicago organizations that support Black and Brown communities, especially youth:
- Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
- After School Matters
- Mikva Challenge
- SOUL: Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation
- John Walt Foundation
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago
- Assata’s Daughters
- My Block, My Hood, My City
- Chicago Freedom School (CFS)
- Westside Justice Center
- Brave Space Alliance
- Freedom Lifted
Want to support as a writer or reader? Here are a few literary resources:
Want to find Black-owned bookstores you can buy online from? Here are a couple of lists from various publications:
- The Literary Hub: You can order today from these black-owned independent bookstores.
- Elite Daily: 22 Black-Owned Bookstores You Can Order From Online
- CondeNast Traveler: 49 Black-Owned Bookstores You Can Shop Online
Illinois Black-owned bookstores:
- Semicolon Bookstore & Gallery - Chicago, IL
- Frontline Bookstore - Chicago, IL
- The Underground Bookstore (local phone orders) - Chicago, IL
- Afriware Books, Co - Maywood, IL
Here are Black (or Black-supporting) literary resources, from lists of organizations to writing groups:
- F.L.O.W. - Chicago-based literary organization
- Young Chicago Authors - Chicago-based literary organization
- Liberation Library - Illinois-based literary organization
- Circles & Ciphers - Chicago-based literary/arts organization
- Haymarket Books: Haymarket Books Against Policing & Mass Incarceration - Chicago-based press
- African American Literature Book Club
- Publishers Weekly: Serving Writers and Readers: African-American Literary Organizations
- Split This Rock: Literary Organizations
- Black Writers Collective
- Black & Bookish
We are working on a reading list of books by Black authors in our community so everyone can be aware and support each other. If you are a Black author of the CWA community, submit your book to be added to the list. If you would like to make a general recommendation of Black authors and books we should check out and share, submit a book or author through this form.
We hope you continue to be safe and fight for injustice. As a community, we are always learning and we have to take care of each other.
With words and light,
The Chicago Writers Association
Agents and Publishers
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First Chapter Contest
Chicago Writers Association
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