Social Justice Statement
June 12, 2020
The IWWG unequivocally condemns the heinous murder of George Floyd and acknowledges and denounces racism and injustice in all its forms. We believe that black lives have made invaluable contributions to our world, and, as creative artists, wholeheartedly endorse the movement underway to demand a just and equitable society.
The written word is a powerful instrument for change. We represent women from many backgrounds and abilities, creating a space where all women writers feel welcome, inspired, and empowered, and we reaffirm our commitment to upholding principles of equity, diversity, and inclusion in all our practices.
Side by side, we learn, share, risk and grow in a community distinguished by generosity of spirit, unconditional acceptance, and collaboration. Our Mentors’ Program brings together the voices and aspirations of today’s young women with the wisdom and experience of long-time Guild members. Together they learn from each other, opening doors to a richer present and more hopeful future.
We can do more. We commit to strengthening our efforts toward building a just and equal society through a global dialog that embraces women’s voices and humanitarian principles. We encourage our members to reflect and find ways to participate that call to them as individuals – write, make art, protest, donate to organizations seeking to help, educate children, write your legislators, organize in your community, spend time in self-reflection – find what is true for you and take action.
Looking ahead, we commit to identifying and providing opportunities to amplify the voices and words of black women, through our programming and leadership options, our Open Mics and a broadened outreach to other organizations that share our values. As a first action we plan a special issue of our publication, Network, in which we will ask our black members and nonmembers to share their voices and their words.
Longtime IWWG member, poet, instructor and Harlem resident, Stephanie Alston-Nero, who died from pancreatic cancer at age 61, inspires us still with the gift of her words:
I believe we will survive
that we will heal, thrive, rise up
shuffle off the slave shadow inside our skin
live nearer to the homeland of Self-love.
As we open up again as a society, we commit to looking for new opportunities to ensure accessibility to all who attend our events, including those with disabilities, and those in need of economic assistance. We commit to a more balanced representation of black women as members of our faculty and Board of Directors. We reaffirm our commitment to hold a safe space for the diversity of voices that is the Guild, and to listen to each other with compassion and respect. We write our tomorrows together.