For the last two weeks, the world has been watching the Olympic games as thousands of athletes converged on Rio—from different countries, from different races, from different religions, to showcase different skills. Sure, these games are all in the spirit of competition, but we find ourselves rooting for strangers in the moments when they overcome challenges, from within and without. We've stayed up too late every night watching (or reading about) these events, waiting for the drama to unfold, and learning a little more about the world in the process.
When we were organizing the press two years ago with Ferguson coverage growing in the news cycles along with heightened rhetoric from all sides, the world felt in need of compassion, respect, and understanding for voices under-heard and under-celebrated. With that in mind, we set out to offer diversity across our authors and their work. Our goal is to make diversity so familiar, it stops being a buzzword.
When you learn more about people—even when they aren't winning—there's more of an inclination to root for them. Take David Katoatau—a weightlifter from Kiribati who dances at his competitions. Where's Kiribati? It's that place northeast of Australia that'll be first to entirely disappear as a result of global warming. Suddenly the need to dance is palpable. Keep dancing, David, keep dancing!
Maybe, if we get enough stories out there, we'll cheer more readily for people we don't know, people who come from places we haven't been to with skills we didn't know we needed. We are a home for such stories. So, before you start another Netflix binge, save a little attention for our annual essay series.
This year, our contributing editors, Liz Blood and P.E. Garcia, curated the series, which features great work from Sonya Vatomsky, Ka Bradley, Jayy Dodd, Liz Howard, Victorio Reyes, Sophfronia Scott, and Robert Vivian. They'll say more about their theme and authors but we'll start it tomorrow with Sonya Vatomsky's essay, "Mothertonguetied: The Fantasy of Belonging".
We'll be posting essays twice a week for the next few weeks interspersed with announcements and interviews. It'll be a flurry of activity leading up to our second full-length release, Harbors by Donald Quist arriving on 9/22, and we're so glad you're a part of it.
Thanks for supporting our authors!
Wendy M. Walker