A lot has been happening in the publishing world these last couple of weeks/months…particularly in the non-fiction realm. On Sunday, June 21st, Ibram X. Kendi who topped the New York Times Best-selling Non-Fiction list, posted on Instagram stating, “Today is the first Sunday in as long as I can remember when the New York Times Bestseller List looked like my bookshelves.“
This is a moment in time where the publishing world itself and the assumptions it has carried about “who’s books can sell” and “who is publishable” are dramatically shifting. There is a ton of road left to walk, but I for one am glad to see author’s of color and particularly those writing in the anti-racism movement having a moment. A moment I hope turns into a wave, which turns into a tsunami that dismantles and re-institutes a more equitable publishing system.
So, to that end, Haddi and I wanted to make you all aware of an incredible, and free opportunity to hear one of the premier thinkers living out anti-racism work. On July 20th there is a free virtual event happening with Ibram X. Kendi himself. Haddi and I have already registered (link above) and we plan to read his latest book, “How to Be an Anti-Racist” between then and now. We would like to formally invite you to join us for this virtual event and then a hosted virtual discussion, hosted by us, to follow (more on the follow up conversation to come).
Many of us hope to do something, make an impact and help evolve our world into something more equitable for all, but that work isn’t a sprint, it’s a lifetime marathon. And marathons (from what I hear, cause I sure as shit ain’t doing one) are one step, one mile at a time. So for me I look to books and I look to the publishing world because books are absolutely essential to my life. They are my passion, my hobby, the place I retreat to and where I am pushed beyond the edges of my knowing. So three years ago, I started intentionally buying and reading more authors of color and it has fundamentally changed how I think, act and move in the world, from parenting to pastoring to purchasing book! I have significantly shifted and I pray those shifts have been helpful and not harmful. I pray those shifts will ripple through my children, family, friends and members into the world.
The world won’t be saved by reading a book. It won’t. Yet an impact can occur within the publishing space that changes the world in meaningful ways. So I humbly ask you to consider your purchasing power, your consumption of literature and perhaps join me in continuing to #decolonizeyourbookshelf (check out more about this below and follow on Instagram). And I invite you to join the conversation with Ibram X. Kendi on July 20th.