Black Lives Matter: Silence is Not an Option

Over the past week, people in cities around the world have organized and come together amid the pandemic to march in protest against anti-black racism, systemic racism, and police violence and the disproportionate killing of Black citizens. These protests and mass demonstrations were sparked by the murder of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis, and the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and far too many other Black lives lost to racist violence. Here in Toronto, a protest was organized last weekend to demand answers and justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year old Black Canadian woman who fell to her death after police were called to her home. This week, Chantel Moore, a 26-year old Indigenous woman, was fatally shot by police in Edmunston, New Brunswick.

Black Lives Matter. We must all speak out against racism and police brutality, and commit to being an active part of making change. We recognize the role silence plays in upholding systems of oppression. To stay silent is to remain complicit.

We at Book*hug Press condemn anti-black racism, white supremacy, and all forms of systemic racism that permeate our society, and police violence against BIPOC people. We stand in solidarity with the Black community, and all people of colour, and anti-racist protests and movements everywhere. We stand in solidarity with everyone demanding justice, answers, and change.

As literary publishers, we believe in the power of words and language, however, words are not enough. Words mean little without action. We are committed to helping build a more diverse, inclusive, and representative literary community. We shall redouble our commitment to amplifying the voices of BIPOC, LGBTQ2sIA+, and historically marginalized and underrepresented writers. We will continue to seek out and prioritize the reading of submissions from BIPOC writers and hire BIPOC editors for book projects. But there is still more to be done and our team is engaged in meaningful dialogue to identify additional steps that we need to take to turn our support into action.

We are listening, learning, reading, and educating ourselves about our country’s deeply rooted history of racism, colonialism, and cultural genocide. We want to better understand white privilege and the many ways we benefit from it every day, and how we can use it in a way that is beneficial to all people. It is not the job of BIPOC people to educate us about racial injustice and oppression. It’s our responsibility to do the work so that we can become better allies.

Below is a list of resources we have gathered together for ourselves, which includes a list of Black authors we have read, or are reading, and in turn encourage you to read, along with some links to anti-racist reading lists and resources that we are following. Additionally, we’ve compiled a list of organizations, both in Canada and the US, that help fight systemic racism and oppression that you may wish to donate to and support. These lists are by no means exhaustive and if there are other resources you feel are important, please share them with us by emailing info@bookhugpress.ca.

Read

There’s never been a more urgent or necessary time to expand your frame of reference, and one of the best ways to do that is through reading books. Here is a list of Black writers, both Canadian and American, that we have read or are reading. Again, while this list is by no means exhaustive, we encourage you to support these authors and seek out their books from independent bookstores and libraries. And if you don’t see them on their shelves, please request them.

Lillian Allen
Andre Alexis
Zalika Reid-Benta
Juliane Okot Bitek
Dionne Brand
David Chariandy
Austin Clarke
Desmond Cole
Esi Edugyan
Whitney French
Chantal Gibson
Lawrence Hill
Djamila Ibrahim
Aisha Sasha John
El Jones
Kaie Kellough
Chelene Knight
Dany Laferrière
Canisia Lubrin
Robyn Maynard
Suzette Mayr
Tea Mutonji
Cecily Nicholson
D. Nandi Odhiambo
M. NourbeSe Philip
Terese Mason Pierre
Jael Richardson
Olive Senior
Cason Sharpe
Rinaldo Walcott
Ian Williams

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Michelle Alexander
Maya  Angelou
James Baldwin
Octavia Butler
Ta-Nehisi Coates
Angela Davis
Rita Dove
Ralph Ellison
Roxane Gay
Renee Gladman
Wayde Compton
Bell Hooks
Langston Hughes
Zora Neale Hurston
Marlon James
Ibram X. Kendi
Audre Lorde
Nathanael Mackey
Fred Moten
Toni Morrison
Harryette Mullen
Ijeoma Oluo
Morgan Parker
Claudia Rankin
Ishmael Reed
Danez Smith
Tracy K. Smith
Zadie Smith
Angie Thomas
Alice Walker
Jesmyn Ward
Colson Whitehead

Links to Anti-racist Reading Lists:

10 (Mostly) Canadian Books about Racism, Anti-Blackness, and Anti-Racism, Plus Places to Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

An Antiracist Reading List by Ibram X. Kendi The New York Times

An Essential Reading Guide For Fighting Racism Buzzfeed Books

First, Listen. Then, Learn: Anti-Racism Resources For White People: https://tinyurl.com/y9vx8fgh

BLM: Books by Black Authors All Lit Up

Black Authors that Canadians Should be Reading Right Now Open Book

Haymarket Books Against Policing & Mass Incarceration Haymarket Books

25 books about being black in Canada CBC Books

Links to Anti-Racist Resources:

Antiracism Resources for White People: https://tinyurl.com/y9rngczn

Anti-Racism Resources, Organizations and Reading Lists: https://tinyurl.com/y7h8xst7

Donate and Support

We encourage you to consider making a donation if you can to local organizations that are doing the groundwork 365 days a year to support BIPOC people and fight against anti-racism. Any amount helps. To date, we have made donations to Black Lives Matter (Toronto Chapter), the Black Health Alliance, and the George Floyd Memorial Fund.

Once again, this list is by no means exhaustive. If there are other organizations that you feel we should include here, please share them with us by emailing info@bookhugpress.ca.

In Canada

Black Lives Matter Toronto Chapter: https://blacklivesmatter.ca/

Black Lives Matter Vancouver Chapter: https://www.gofundme.com/f/blmvan

Black Health Alliance: http://blackhealthalliance.ca/

Black Legal Action Centre: https://www.blacklegalactioncentre.ca/

Justice for Regis: https://ca.gofundme.om/f/justice-for-regis

Toronto Protestor Bailout Fund: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/toronto-protestor-bail-fund

FoodShare Toronto: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/m/34403/donation

Black Youth Helpline: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/black-youth-helpline/

Black Women in Motion: https://blackwomeninmotion.org/

Hogan’s Alley Society: https://www.hogansalleysociety.org/

Canadian Association for Black Journalists: https://www.cabj.news/donations

Afrobiz.ca: https://www.afrobiz.ca/Toronto

Google Map of Black-Owned / Black-Focussed Bookstores, created by Don Gorman, Publisher of Rocky Mountain Books: https://tinyurl.com/yadq6xtc

Support for family of Chantel Moore: https://tinyurl.com/y7qwzukr

In the US

George Floyd Memorial Fund: https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd

Justice for Breonna Taylor: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/9v4q2-justice-for-breonna-taylor

I Run With Maud: https://www.gofundme.com/f/i-run-with-maud

In Memory of Tony Mcdade: https://ca.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-tony-mcdade

Black Lives Matter: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

Minnesota Freedom Fund: https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/

Reclaim the Block: https://secure.everyaction.com/zae4prEeKESHBy0MKXTIcQ2

Black Visions Collective: https://secure.everyaction.com/4omQDAR0oUiUagTu0EG-Ig2

National Bail Fund Network: https://www.communityjusticeexchange.org/nbfn-directory

The Obama Foundation: https://www.obama.org/

Support and Sign a Petition

Sign the petition to demand racial data on police-involved deaths in Canada: https://tinyurl.com/yd66ua2t

Justice for George Floyd petition: https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd

Justice for Breonna Taylor petition: https://tinyurl.com/y7stqgqs

2020 Toronto Police Budget – Call For Action/Defunding Template: https://tinyurl.com/y8pudlt2

Black Lives Matter. Silence is not an option.

In solidarity,

Hazel Millar and Jay Millar
Co-publishers, Book*hug Press