I strive to read a diverse collection of books, both because I am interested in a variety of genres and points of view and because I know, as a white librarian, I have privilege. That privilege provides me with an audience that listens when I talk about books. I should use that privilege to amplify voices that are often erased or ignored. I don’t always do my best, though, and that is something I will strive to do in the future.
More often than I have been, and especially this month, I want to bring attention to #OwnVoices and books by Black and LGBTQIA+ authors. June is Pride month, and this past week has been a time of great unrest in the United States. I am disgusted by some of the injustices I’ve seen in my country, from the murder of many Black folks, most recently, George Floyd, by police over the years, to the use of tear gas by law enforcement on protesting citizens. I know reading books by Black (and LGTBQIA+) authors only at this time is not helpful, and though I would like to think I always am mindful about what I am reading and who I am supporting with my money, that’s not always the case. I plan to feature a more diverse array of books and authors on my book blog in the future.
Finally, I want to share that any income I receive from bitchbookshelf.com this month will be donated to organizations supporting the protesters. I often only make a few bucks a month off of this website, but every dollar counts. Please let me know if you have any suggestions for organizations. This particular money probably will not be donated to bail relief funds (though that is a great cause) because it often takes a few months for affiliate income to go through.
How can you help? To my white friends, I ask you to:
- AMPLIFY BLACK VOICES. Retweet and share from Black folks on your timelines and dashboards. Read books by Black authors, and show these books on your socials. Talk about them with your friends.
- I donated $25 to Black Lives Matter. Match my donation to BLM or a related cause of your choice. Please let me know if you do so.
- Buy from Black-owned businesses and Black creators. Google Black-owned bookstores in your city and start there. Even with closures, many stores are delivering.
- Don’t be silent. White silence is violence. Furthermore, posting only about how sad you are or just sharing a black square on social media isn’t enough; our white tears are problematic, too.
- Check in on your Black friends. Asking, “How are you?” might not be the most sensitive question, and reaching out to a a coworker you don’t know very well may not be the most sensitive move, either. Offer a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on. (I am trying to find an excellent Twitter thread I read that talked about this much more eloquently, but I’ve favorited so many tweets and followed so many folks the past few days. No idea where it went. I will link if I do find it.)
If you want to purchase through my affiliate links, I always appreciate it, and all income from June will be donated to organizations supporting the protesters, as discussed above. I post links and ads throughout my site, and I note when these are affiliate links. For example, THIS is my Amazon affiliate link. Bookmark it so all your purchases in June can go towards this important cause.
I also want to promise that once these protests are over, I will not forget about what has happened. I will continue to donate, whether monetarily or with my time, when I am able to. This has been a cause that I have spoken on before, but admittedly not with as much open passion. I am working to do better.
Finally, I remind you that it is Pride month, a time of celebration. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has postponed the parades and parties until next year, and some communities are holding Pride this autumn. We only have the opportunity to celebrate Pride because of the Stonewall Riots. Please remember that in viewing the protests happening across the United States during this time. I know to some, riots seem scary or inappropriate. But there is a reason behind them, and they lead to change.
Thanks for reading. I wish that you stay safe and healthy.
P.S. I want to think Julian Wan on Unsplash, from whom I collected this free use image for my header. Photographers have shared many excellent free for use images from the protests already. Free images often don’t require that users mention where they found them, but I encourage bloggers to give a shout-out to these creators when they use their work.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. When you click on and/or purchase from some links, I make a portion of the sale. This helps keep Bitch Bookshelf running. All income from affiliate links in the month of June 2020 will be donated to organizations that support the protesters across the United States. #BlackLivesMatter