There’s something beautiful happening in Booklrland right now. If you tune in to Twitter, you will see the hashtag #DiverseAThon in your newsfeed. Click on it, and a barrage of tweets about POC, LGBTQA+, and mentally ill authors will hit you. Pay attention. This conversation is one of the strongest I have ever had the privilege of being a part of so far in our community. I’m participating, but mostly, I’m listening pretty damn hard.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Recently, a booktuber that I am not going to name posted a horrendous video about diversity on YouTube. I didn’t watch it, and I’m not going to give you the link. She doesn’t deserve the clicks and ad revenue. From the summaries and transcripts I have read, it was ridiculously racist and her goal was to convince people that there was no need for diversity in publishing. Only white women read books anyway, right?
She was so so wrong. The video she thought would tear people down only built up this wonderful, diverse community we have created. On Labor Day, there was a hashtag #IStandForDiversity and it immediately took off. The hashtag was changed to #ISupportDiversity after it was advised that the original was ableist–and that one took off just as fast. Since then, it has been a constant conversation. We aren’t backing down on this. Diversity has been a constant issue in publishing, and all that video did was bring it to the absolute forefront.
This week, running from September 12-19, the community is holding #DiverseAThon. There are live chats (the first was last night) about our favorite diverse books, along with other such topics. Those of us participating have committed to read books by POC, LGBTQA+, and mentally ill authors (and/or with those characters) this week.
It isn’t too late to join. Find a diverse book on your TBR shelf, pick one up from your library, or head to your local book store, and start reading! And diverse reading doesn’t have to just be this week. It shouldn’t be. Don’t make #DiverseAThon ONLY this week, and then go back to reading white CIS male authors every other week of the year. That would be so easy to do.
I am challenging myself to be better. Not everything I read is diverse. Because I’ve set a goal to read the Boxall’s list, there are a whollllle lot of non-diverse books on my TBR. But, I am culling a lot of the others, ones that have been sitting on there for no reason other than I had added them at one point and not gotten to them. I’m also starting to categorize my diverse books on my TBR so I can find them more easily. I’ve changed some of my tags and categories here on ILayReading, and I’m working thru my older posts, so click thru occasionally and more will show up there.
I am a work in progress. But conversations like #DiverseAThon are helping me to be better. I want to thank everyone participating for your camaraderie and discussion. It is through this type of community that we can bring change to our world.