The past few years have been, all over the world, a time of profoundly overdue reckoning. We at Brick Books mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, Tony McDade, Chantel Moore, Rodney Levi, and so very many Black and Indigenous people who should be alive today. We echo calls for the radical reimagining of our societal structures—police forces, education systems, prisons—and for the declaration of anti-Black racism as a public health crisis. In solidarity, we join our voices with those who are protesting and writing and speaking and singing and crying out against systemic racism and state-sponsored violence. We must use this moment to propel the work of dismantling white supremacy.
For the past several years, we at Brick Books have been facing our lack of diversity. As a white-run publishing house with a white-majority staff, we recognize that there is serious work to be done to equitably share power with and support Black and Indigenous writers and literary arts workers, including those on our list and staff, and we recommit ourselves to this project with urgency. We will, as a collective, continue to focus on our organizational structure by actively seeking ways to make Brick Books’ internal culture an anti-racist environment; to further prioritize the hiring of Black, Indigenous, and racialized editors and staff (including those who are queer, trans, two spirit, neurodiverse, and/or disabled) as positions become available; to commit to fair compensation for those roles; and to centre diversity and inclusion in our acquisitions, curatorial, and promotional practices.
Poetry belongs to everyone. Black and Indigenous poets and other poets of colour have long had to fight to have their voices heard in a publishing environment dominated by upholders of colonial values who purport to judge what is and isn’t representative of human experience. Our own publishing history has been both informed and limited by Eurocentric ideals about what counts as literary. The diversity of a poetry list reflects the depth and breadth of that publisher’s understanding of what poetry has been, is, and can be. We are committed to amplifying the voices of Black, Indigenous, and racialized poets who continue to show us all what poetry is.