Clarion West Supports Black Lives Matter and the Struggle for Change
Clarion West condemns the ongoing injustice and violence against the Black community in America. Clarion West is not a political organization, yet there is no denying that fiction can be political, especially fiction created out of hope or despair or anger, or that envisions worlds that could have been or ones that are yet to come.
Silence does not lend itself to change. We grieve with the loved ones of so many bright souls who have been taken too soon from our communities because of the color of their skin. We stand with those who righteously ask: “When will the killings end? When will justice truly be just?” Our board and staff are committed to doing the work within our organization to become better allies, dismantle white supremacy, and become more actively anti-racist in our communities. Most importantly, we will persist in bringing the work of voices previously marginalized to the fore and demanding the changes that will make this world equitable to all people.
Speculative fiction – science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all other genres that question what might be – is often a vehicle for exploring change and examining the assumptions on which our society is based. For people experiencing oppression, creating change through words is one way to challenge the status quo. When overt challenge is met with violence, or threats to personal safety, stories may be the only outlet available.
Speculative fiction also has the power to inspire change. If so many technical innovations were inspired by stories, novels, and films, why not social change? Fiction reveals worlds and experiences beyond our own. In doing so, it can create paths to empathy and understanding. It expands our idea of what is possible for ourselves, those around us, and the reality we create together every day.
It is Clarion West’s mission to support underrepresented voices. This includes members of Black communities and other marginalized people who have been on the front lines of protests against systemic injustice and driving action for change. We express this mission not only by making our classes available to as many students as possible but by our selection of instructors who bring their experience and expertise to every lecture and critique. We seek out luminaries in the field who have shown us new and startling worlds in fiction: Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, N.K. Jemisin, Nalo Hopkinson, and Nnedi Okorafor are just a few of the instructors whose own work demands that we interrogate injustice, the legacy of our fractured past, and possibilities for our future.
We encourage people who are seeking out resources or interested in learning more about systemic injustice, understanding privilege, and ways to support underrepresented voices to explore the following:
Need support for coping with oppression?
- “An Open Letter to Black Women about Mental Health,” written by Minaa B. for Huffpost
- Black Mental Health Alliance, resources to “support the health and well-being of Black people and other vulnerable communities”
- Therapy Decolonized, practice and resources for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color
- Queer and Trans Therapists of Color – a directory
- The Safe Place App, information on how police brutality and racism impacts mental health and self-care tips
- BIPOC Mental Health Resources (list by Summit Wellness Group), many links to BIPOC-centered resources for mental health and wellness.
I’m white; how can I learn more?
- WHAT IS SYSTEMIC RACISM? an 8-part video series by Race Forward on how racism in our institutions and society
- 75 Things White People Can Do For Racial Justice, written by Corinne Shutack
- Anti-Racism Resources for White People compiled by: Sarah Sophie Flicker & Alyssa Klein, 2020
- The Fantasy World Master list of resources on how to dismantle systemic racism.
Where can I donate?
- Carl Brandon Society – An organization dedicated to racial and ethnic diversity in speculative fiction.
- National Bail Fund Network – A directory of community bail and bond funds across the country
- ActBlue Bailfunds – ActBlue is accepting contributions that will be divided evenly betweenBrooklyn Community Bail Fund, Minnesota Freedom Fund, and 12 other groups.
- Campaign Zero is a comprehensive platform of research-based policy solutions to end police brutality in America.
- The NAACP works to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.
- Black Lives Matter – The movement founded in 2013 following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s murderer.
- Showing Up for Racial Justice – A movement especially committed to centering disability justice and poor/working class organizers.
- Color of Change – The nation’s largest online racial justice organization.
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund – Covers funeral and burial expenses, mental and grief counseling, lodging and travel for all court proceedings, and to assist the Floyd family in the days to come as they continue to seek justice for George.
- Victim Memorial Funds – A list of funds to support funeral and burial expenses and family support for victims of police violence.
- Unicorn Riot – A nonprofit media collective dedicated to exposing the root causes of social, economic, and environmental issues.
- Minneapolis Gas Mask Fund – Fundraiser to buy military grade gas masks for Black youth activists on the front lines, started by Isak Douah
- Atlanta Solidarity Bail Fund – Support #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd protesters in Atlanta who are targeted for arrest.
- Minnesota Freedom Fund – Community-based fund set up to pay criminal bail and immigration bonds for individuals who have been arrested while protesting police brutality.
- People’s City Council Freedom Fund – Los Angeles-based fund helping to pay for legal support, bail, fines, and court fees for arrested protesters in the city, medical bills and transportation for injured protesters, supplies and PPE for field medics, and direct support to Black Lives Matter Los Angeles.
- Colorado Freedom Fund – A fund that pays ransom (posts money bond, pays cash bail) for people unable to afford the cost of buying their own freedom.
How else can I help?
- This amazing spreadsheet of national resources by @botanicaldyke includes legal support providers, national funds, and bailout funds by state.
- Support Black-owned businesses (including bookstores!). Buy books by Black writers. Sign petitions. Call your representatives. Take classes from Black people. Listen. Vote.
- If you’re in Seattle, here is a list of Black-owned restaurants. For Black and minority owned businesses across the US, you can search on The Intentionalist: find and support local businesses and the diverse people behind them.
- Find and support policies for change through sites like 8CantWait, taking action on 8 policies that decrease police violence by 72%.
- A comprehensive list of links to petitions and contact for representatives: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/.
- A living list of resources from the Bureau of Fearless Ideas.
Do you have a suggestion to add to our list of resources? Submit it here.