Celebrating Pride x BLM
last updated 25 June 2020
A Note From U.S. VP Managing Agent James Burns
Dear publishers, artists, and the KidLit community,
51 years ago, our Black queer brothers and sisters passionately rioted and demonstrated for six days in what is now known as the Stonewall Uprising. They were fighting against oppression and hatred, and for equality, acceptance and LGBTQIA rights.
On the anniversary of these riots, I marched with thousands in the Queer Liberation March in New York City to stand unified against racism, prejudice and to wholeheartedly support BLM and Black Trans Lives.
For June, I had been hesitant about Pride’s place within the current BLM movement. Not because it was not important, but because to me, as a gay man, Pride now feels more like a celebration than the protests we have seen over the last few weeks. My heart felt this is no time to be partying, that there is an urgent battle underway and it needs all the help and attention it can get.
Last week, I spent a good amount of time listening, reflecting and considering where Pride’s place should be in the current climate. It became clear to me that the LGBTQIA community still needs to be celebrated, but that in doing so we could stand alongside and raise up our Black brothers and sisters as they did for us so many years ago.
I am proud of the Black artists that are represented by myself and the agency, but I want to be very clear: we as agents have the opportunity and the power to do so much more. As such, I pledge:
- To ensure that the Bright Agency is a safe space for our Black artists and authors.
- To ensure that I support, nurture and guide all Black artists regardless if they are represented by me, by setting time aside to do so every month.
- To lift up your voices and work within the Kidlit community.
- To continue and never let go of listening and learning.
Publishing has many challenges in the days ahead, but none so urgent as ensuring that Black creators are given the space and respect to authentically tell their own stories rather than having to conform into what the Caucasian world has deemed appropriate for far too long.
It is a pleasure to share with you below, Bright’s truly powerful roster of Black, African American or LGBTQIA artists.
With my best wishes,