3 Projects Working Toward Inclusivity

Amy Collier on Writers of Color Database, Artists Against Police Violence, & I Believe You / It’s Not Your Fault

This post is part of a Nat. Brut series in which feminist writers, artists, and activists discuss people, publications, or organizations who are working toward inclusivity. Today Amy Collier shares her choices.

Writers of Color Database

Writers of Color Database / image source: writersofcolor.org

Are you an editor whose publication recently failed at representing women of color in a VIDA count? Are you a writer frustrated by this failure? Well, luckily Durga Chew-Bose, Jazmine Hughes, Vijith Assar, and Buster Bylander created a database “to create more visibility for writers of color, ease their access to publications, and build a platform that is both easy for editors to use and accurately represents the writers.”

There are so many reasons to love Jazmine Hughes, formerly an editor of The Hairpin, this exchange not being the least of them:

The process is pretty simple and straightforward: Writers can submit information on what they write about, by-lines, and how to get in touch, and editors can search the database by topic or location. Editors can also tweet calls for submissions or open positions to @WritersofColor and they will retweet the calls and open positions.

Artists Against Police Violence

Artists Against Police Violence / Image source: artistsagainstpoliceviolence.com

For some people the language of protest is art. Artists Against Police Violence uses art to fight back against police brutality and the murders of black women and men. The community-strengthening project is run by a group of artist-activists of color based in NYC and LA.

“[They] use art to fight back against police brutality and the murders of black women and men.”

In their analysis of the project, the facilitators write “We want to honor the origins of #BlackLivesMatter, created by queer Black women, and the Black women leading the movement in Ferguson.” They cite the specific risks, including sexual violence, that black women face at the hands of the police, and acknowledge that trans women are especially targeted.

The project is accessible anywhere via their site, and they call “all artists across the U.S. and the world to rise up against anti-Black police violence, with a focus on Black artists in particular.”

I Believe You / It’s Not Your Fault

I Believe You It’s Not Your Fault / image source: ibelieveyouitsnotyourfault. tumblr.com

We live in a garbage society that humiliates victims of sexual assault for trying to speak up and get help. We make it nearly impossible to come forward with the truth because the truth will be torn away from those who experienced it and inevitably discredited by a flawed system.

“…the site provides a support system for survivors of harassment and assault.”

I worry for all of us. I worry for my brothers who constantly absorb harmful messages about what it means to be a man, that women are neither valuable nor trustworthy, and fear that as men they contribute to the negative structures in place. I worry for women who internalize these messages and blame themselves or other women. I worry for my nieces who are still children and live in a world where not everyone in our family would support them if they were victims of violence, and knowing this they may never seek help if something happened to them. I worry for myself, should I ever be in that same position. I worry for friends who have been raped, who range a spectrum of genders each with its own compounding complications, and who felt that if they came forward they would get nothing or more harassment, and so they stayed silent or told very few people. I seethe when Ithink about those who are retraumatized with callous questions and blame by police, the court system, and anyone who wrongly feels it is their place to comment.

What we’re dealing with is a fucking mess. That’s why I Believe You / It’s Not Your Fault, open to people of all ages but specifically created for teens to share their stories and receive validating advice, is so important. Started by the amazing Lindy West and a group of wonderful writers, the site provides a support system for survivors of harassment and assault and behaves in a way that the rest of the world should emulate.

image courtesy of Amy Collier

Amy Collier runs Uncovered Classics, a book review site that promotes female authors of the 20th century and features reviews and cover redesigns by many wonderful contemporary writers and artists. Follow Amy and/or Uncovered Classics on twitter.

Nat. Brut is a biannual journal of art and literature that aims to advance equality and inclusivity in all creative fields. To learn more about us, or to order a copy of our latest issue, visit us online!

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