Black Stories Matter
June 2, 2020
We believe that stories can change the world.
That’s why we became folklorists. It’s why we build book piles that touch our ceilings. It’s why we collect fairy tales and family narratives and legends. It’s why we ask you for your stories. We believe that every voice must be heard and that every person must be seen.
And we believe that Black voices, stories, and lives matter.
It’s been devastating to witness the recent acts of violence and racism here in the United States, including:
- George Floyd, the peaceful, unarmed, Black man in Minneapolis who died last week at 46 years old after a white police officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds as he gasped, “I can’t breathe.” Floyd was arrested after he allegedly attempted to use a $20 bill in a deli, which an employee identified as counterfeit. (May 25, 2020)
- Christian Cooper, the 57-year-old, Ivy League-educated Black man who was bird-watching in New York’s Central Park. After asking a white woman to leash her dog, she became verbally aggressive and, for protection, he started recording her on his phone. She told him to stop, saying “I’m going to tell [the police] there’s an African-American man threatening my life.” She proceeded to call and said: “There’s a man, African-American… he is recording me and threatening me and my dog… Please send the cops immediately!” (May 25, 2020)
- Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman who was shot more than eight times and ultimately killed when police officers entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, while she was sleeping. Police were there to serve a search warrant for drugs — none of which were found in her home. (March 13, 2020)
- Ahmaud Arbery, the 25-year-old unarmed Black man who was jogging in rural Georgia when he was fatally shot. He was followed by two armed white men, father and son, who claimed he looked like a suspect in a string of local burglaries. (February 23, 2020)
It’s easy to be shocked and outraged, maybe even shed some tears, but then move on. After all, we’re all exhausted and spread so thin already right now.
But that is not enough. If we want to be a part of the solution, we need to take action.
Here are three things we’re doing right now:
We’re the first to admit that we’re not experts on this topic, but we’re committed to learning. We’re spending a lot of time right now listening and reading. The National Museum of American American History and Culture just released an amazing online resource called Talking About Race, with sections geared specifically towards educators and parents, as well as people who just want to learn more. So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo is next on our list.
Donating Dollars to Stand Against Racism
We’ve made a donation to the Southern Poverty Law Center, but there are MANY other great places including your local Black Lives Matter Chapter, the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, the NAACP, United Negro College Fund, Black Youth Project 100, Color of Change, The Sentencing Project, Families Against Mandatory Minimums, A New Way of Life, and Dream Defenders.
Shining a Light on Black Stories
There are TONS of beautiful, powerful fantasy and folklore-y books by people of color out there, and they often don’t get the media spotlight.
To celebrate the amazing work of Black writers and amplify their voices, we’ve decided to run another giveaway. (Yes, we know we just did one, but this is SO important!) We’re giving away a prize pack of SIX must-read fantasy books by Black authors – Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord, M.F.K. by Nilah Magruder, A Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow, Brown Sugar Fairies: Saroja’s Quest by Aiysha Sinclair, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe, and A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown!
To enter, all you have to do is make a post on your favorite social media platform talking about a book you’re excited to read by a Black author – any genre, any age group! Try to tag the writer if you can, hashtag it #blackstoriesmatter and #carterhaughschool so that we can be sure to find it to verify you posted, and then snap a screenshot and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Black Stories Matter Submission.” You can enter as many times as you’d like, but only once per social media platform.
This contest will be open for one week (closing at midnight on June 9th!)
Each of us has an opportunity to make a difference by educating our minds, opening up our hearts, donating our dollars, and using our voice and influence to be an ally to our Black friends and ultimately create a much better, much kinder, and much more magical world for us all. If you’re looking for some concrete ways to help, here’s an awesome list of 75 ideas to get you started.
Thank you for reading. You are in our hearts, today and every day.
P.S. Another special thanks to Selena Soo for allowing us to use and reword some of the language from her e-mail for this one.
[This blog post is a direct repost of our newsletter today.]