We at Lascaux Review are sickened and angry at the continued patterns of violence and murder of Black men and women. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. And so many more whose names should all be said, and should continue to be said.
We must stand together with those who are marginalized, those who are victims of a system of privilege and white supremacy built on stolen land with stolen people. And not just right now when everyone is passionate and outraged, but a month from now, a year from now, a decade from now when it’s easy to have moved on with our comfortable lives where George Floyd is just a tragic story in a long line of tragic stories we let slide past us, because we are busy living our lives of privilege.
Black people don’t get to “go back to their lives.” This is their lives.
So what are we doing about it?
First, we want to admit and be transparent with you that we’re not good at talking about race and have failed at being outwardly vocal on behalf of people of color. But we are committed to being better. We are starting by acknowledging our own roles in this broken, oppressive system and being conscious daily about the ways we are part of the problem and not part of the solution.
We, the leadership of Lascaux Review, are reading books like White Fragility, How to Be An Antiracist, and others, and supplying books to all members of our staff. If they are unwilling to embrace this reading material and address issues of care, inclusion, and equity in their own lives they will no longer be invited into our literary spaces. We will not align with those who do not share our cultural values.
Second, we are calling on leaders of our local communities as well as elected officials at a national and global level to take actionable steps to dismantle white supremacy and begin the process of healing and reconciliation. We do not want to hear “we’re making a plan.” We want to see those steps in action, happening now.
Third, we are donating to the following organizations:
Campaign Zero: Because we seek to end police violence.
The Equal Justice Initiative and ActBlue Bail Funds: Because we will fight against systems of so-called justice that are leveraged against marginalized and economically-disadvantaged communities.
Cave Canem: Because we are committed to supporting Black writers who strive to find their literary voices.
Fourth: We will promote the work of Black writers. We have always promoted the work of any writers who catch our eye, but moving forward we are taking steps to be more conscious and diligent to guarantee we are highlighting the work of Black authors. We want to ensure Black writers are heard and celebrated.
Fifth: We are exploring ways to diversify our own work as a literary journal. We have always encouraged people of color or other marginalized communities to submit to our journal. Unfortunately, we don’t know how we are doing. Not all writers specify their race or gender or orientation. We constantly look for good writing and we can guarantee that we are spending time searching for and making space for marginalized voices. But we’re not doing enough, because we just aren’t getting enough. We’re working to figure out how we can do better.
Our message to Black writers: We want to hear your voice. We see you, we know you have things to say, and we want to see submissions from you. Please give us a chance to lift you up. We will actively recruit writers we see out on the internet. If you don’t come to us, we will come to you.
And finally, there is no finally. We can’t do enough. This job is big. But this list is our start, and when the list is done, we will continue to move forward. And, we hope, hand-in-hand with you. We are committed, because Black lives matter.
—Wendy Russ, Managing Editor
Thank you for this declaration. For this black woman, it is the most honest, assertive, and meaningful statement of its kind, as opposed to those dozens I’ve seen from organizations that simply mouth weak promises. It’s clear from them that they don’t even grasp the problems, let alone have any idea of the role they could play in fixing them.
Lynette, thank you for taking the time to leave feedback. We deeply appreciate it.
So you write a letter of indignation and declare your intention to change. I’ve gone quickly through your 2021 and 2020 covers (or visuals to accompany pieces within the magazines); they are all by western painters from what I can tell – of white people and “classic” white western settings. Your perspective and “instinctive” direction – evidenced by the paintings you’ve selected – indicate the lens with which you view (and assess) the world – and the writers within it.