The past several days have been an upsetting and tumultuous time for Romance Writers of America, our members, and the romance community as a whole.
We want to reiterate our commitment to creating a safe and open environment for all of our members. That has been the Board’s primary goal over the past several years--for every program we put in place, every initiative we embark on, to support diversity, equity, and inclusivity. This is not just a line item on our agendas or a bullet point in our strategic plan, but an underlying value that infuses everything that we do. We may not always have the right answers, there may be times we stumble and stumble greatly, but it is a value that we hold dear and that will continue to guide our path.
Recent events have thrown this commitment into severe question--our members and many in the romance community have seen cause to doubt our integrity and our ability to provide that open and safe environment. This is unacceptable and horrifying to us, as it is so extremely counter to what we stand for. We are deeply sorry that we have caused you to lose your faith in us.
We answer first to our members, and so we would like to take this time to provide clarity and a path forward.
It was never the intent of the Board to suggest that members cannot and should not discuss, call out, or criticize instances of racism or other forms of discrimination. Indeed, we have tried to provide opportunities for members to do just that, and again, we apologize that we have caused members to think otherwise. Many of you have asked about the procedure surrounding the handling of the complaints against Courtney Milan. A second statement will follow with more information.
As it stands now, the organization is at a turning point.
We have lost the trust of our membership and the romance community and we must find a way to rebuild that. It’s going to be a hard road, maybe one of the most difficult we’ve traveled since our inception. We know it’s a lot to ask, and that not everyone will travel this road with us--for that we are sad, and we are sorry, and we understand. We hope that you will be able to join us on this journey again one day, and for those of you who continue with us, we hope that we may prove worthy of your loyalty.
We are also in the position of having to fill open leadership roles. President Carolyn Jewel, as well as Board Members Denny S. Bryce, Pintip Dunn, Seressia Glass, Tracey Livesay, Adrienne Mishel, Priscilla Oliveras, Erica Ridley, and Farrah Rochon have resigned their positions. To them, and to the committee leaders who have resigned, we offer our sincere gratitude for your service to the organization. President Damon Suede and the remaining board will be looking for a strong, diverse group of new leaders who have the ability to think strategically and believe in the mission of the organization.
It’s going to be really difficult in the coming years to restore the trust we have lost, but we’re going to work hard to match our words with our actions as we focus on the mission of the organization--to promote the professional and common business interests of romance writers. We will strive to uphold the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do.
We always welcome your thoughts and feedback. Please email [email protected]
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