There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the Romance Writers of America 2019 RITA Awards as of late. All of us in Romancelandia have seen the discussions, the threads, the frustration surrounding the lack of diversity in this year’s nominees. If you haven’t, please educate yourself. Review the threads on Twitter, #RitasSoWhite or #RITAGH, or check out the forums popping up within RWA if you have PAN access. The only way we can do better is if we’re all aware of what’s happening.
ATK’s Stance on the 2019 RITA Awards
All The Kissing is an organization by romance writers, for romance writers, and we feel it’s important to take a stand. So let us say loudly, clearly and with our hearts on our sleeves, that we are here for authors of color (AOCs). Marginalized voices matter. The results speak for themselves. Systemic racism is present and something needs to change.
We’re not here to argue that racism isn’t a problem, because it is. Full stop. We have seen disturbing comments in threads, suggesting that AOCs are playing the “victim card.” We have seen people claiming it isn’t an issue, because they’re white and haven’t won or been nominated for a RITA. This is disturbing. This is wrong. And we won’t stand for it.
All of the admins at All The Kissing, those who will be attending the RWA conference this year and those who can’t, are in full support of excusing ourselves from the RITA ceremony. We do not want to support an award that doesn’t celebrate the best of us, that isn’t inclusive and supportive of AOCs.
We want to support AOCs because their voices matter. We will not erase their existence with claims of “color blindness.” And those who say that we should have a separate diverse category? Stop. Segregation is segregation is segregation. And it should not be tolerated or promoted.
Let us be perfectly clear—we’re not attacking those authors who have been named this year’s RITA finalists. We’re not saying they didn’t work for their stories. But we are saying that numbers don’t lie, and the lack of AOC finalists points to a large-scale issue that must be resolved.
Romancelandia, we need to do better. We are supposed to be a genre full of love. We are supposed to hold each other up, support each other, and celebrate every victory, no matter our skin color. We personally know AOCs who haven’t entered the RITAs because they don’t see the point. Because they know they won’t be seen.
Everyone should be seen. Everyone should feel welcome. Everyone should feel loved.
It is our mission at All The Kissing to create and foster an inclusive and diverse community. This is highly important to us, and we want every AOC and marginalized voice to know that they have a home with us. We will always see you, we will always hear you, and we will always stand by you.
For those who want to do something but don’t know where to start, read. Read about what’s happened. Make an effort to read books by AOCs. (WOC In Romance is an excellent resource.) Listen to AOCs and understand that there’s no argument about what’s happening. It. Is. Happening. Offer your support. Stand beside them. Demand change. The romance community deserves it. AOCs deserve it.
Your All The Kissing admins, Maxym M. Martineau, GL Jackson, Tricia Lynne, Shannon Caldwell, Alexa Martin, Lindsay Hess