Hi friends! So, as usual I’m behind and flying by the seat of my pants – which might explain some things because I pretty much don’t wear pants … – anyway! Diversity! We’ve been seeing a lot about it of late in romanceland. Starting in 2015, I’d say especially. I think that’s a good thing. A great thing. Lots of people chiming in, lots of passionate (sometimes angry) voices – and that’s okay too. I think the “wider world out there” is also seeing how much further we – as people – humanity as a whole – need to go.
A little bit of history here – I first got the idea to celebrate the Smithsonian Heritage Months (SHM) in 2012. In 2013 I began reaching out – and gave myself a year to set things up. The thing is, I know there are a number of diverse authors out there … but this is a bit of a snake pit of a topic. (And for some groups, there really aren’t that many.) In 2014 I tried to kick off my SHM celebrations. If you’ve been around a while, you know my life collapsed a bit. The main highlight (low light) would be I had to live with a paranoid schizophrenic that refused medication and treatment. It was awful, and half my hair fell out. (Literally – I donate my hair, so I know.) Things got a little bit better … then 2015 kicked my ass. I think most of you know because I haven’t STFU about this … I’m pretty much broken and will need to undergo a number of yet to be decided medical procedures because literally every specialist I’ve met so far has in summary told me this: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
All that is to let you know that … I’ve been painfully tardy and just flat out bad at staying on top of the SHM. Some months I had booked entirely, and just never got posts up. (Some months there were not enough authors.) I apologize for that. I really am truly sorry, and know I messed up. I’m not trying to excuse my screw ups … I’m just trying to explain I wasn’t entirely just a flake.
That also needs to be said because … I understand if people don’t want to participate. They sent me a post before… and it never went up. Why should they trust me now? [Hopefully the above mitigates some of my bad actions.] Then also … some people don’t want to participate because they hate all the issues that come with a specific month for “diversity” and such.
At ALBTALBS in 2014, I limited it to [Heritage Month]-Americans. In 2015 I expanded it to [anyone of that particular race/ethnicity]. However, I always gave only an umbrella topic. Authors and readers were welcome to talk about their own experiences, a particular historical person or event … books, anything. Or, the guest poster could talk about nothing relating to race/ethnicity. After all she already is Black/a Woman/Asian-Pacific American/Hispanic/Native American. That’s enough.
In 2016… I’m opening it up to EVERYONE. Any man, woman, child, and dog if s/he can type. 😉 I’ve noticed this year the Smithsonian added one … so February is Black History Month. March is Women’s History Month. May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. June is Caribbean American Heritage Month. September 15-October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. November is American Indian [Native American] Heritage Month. This year I’m keeping all the “old” parameters … but adding in – if you’re to use some jargon “whiter than white bread” – you’re also welcome to participate. If you fall into the latter category you would have to talk about something SHM specific. That’s only fair.
I understand some people being leery of participating, feeling they’re not “qualified” or should be silent – but I say if you want to talk about someone or something about the month, please. Join. It’s better to have something than nothing.
In fact, one thing I’d be interested in this year is if you’d share about the first book/TV show/movie you remember that had someone who is Black/Asian/Caribbean/Hispanic/Native American as a main character. Let’s share our experiences, yes?
Also also – if you’re ~scared to participate … know that I’ve got your back. This is one hill I’m willing to die on, and I will defend your choice and my decision to the end. Diversity in the end is about all of us.
So I know February is just two days away – ACK – BUT … I think we can do this, don’t you? 😀 Join me! Diversity! Yay!