by the Women Who Submit Leadership Team
People in power always find a way to accuse the underserved of not being worthy of justice.
Women Who Submit was founded in response to male editors looking to justify the paucity of women authors in their publications. Those editors made excuses: women weren’t submitting enough, weren’t working hard enough, the submissions from women simply weren’t good enough. We were told it was our own fault that every Tier 1 journal in the nation disproportionately published more men.
We learned how to recognize the rhetorical acrobatics of the privileged.
Now, powerful white men (and women!) tell us that immigrants and refugees aren’t following the rules, aren’t working hard enough, aren’t “getting in line,” and aren’t worthy of citizenship (as if being born in this country means you are somehow better than). We are told they deserve to have their young children ripped from their arms and taken to detention centers several states away. We are told they deserve deportation. We are told that their families aren’t worth preserving. We have always heard this. Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and all people of color have always been told by U.S. policies and institutions that their contributions mean less, that they are expendable. We are all told to fear Black and Brown voices, instead of respecting and amplifying them.
There can be no literary justice without immigration justice. There can be no gender parity in publishing without racial justice. Breaking down submission barriers is not enough if border walls still stand, if prison walls still stand. How many rapturous, beautiful, soul-searing poems is the world being deprived of, because of racism and xenophobia? How many refugee children have dreams of growing up to be novelists or journalists, and are told, by our national policies and our shameful cultural attitudes, “You aren’t worth our time”?
Women Who Submit stands in solidarity with all grassroots organizing to support immigrants and reunify the families ripped apart by the racist policies of the Trump administration. We stand in solidarity with all efforts to abolish ICE, fight police brutality and the surveillance state, and dismantle the vast prison industrial complex that reaps massive profits from the incarceration of Black and Latinx people. We stand in solidarity with the fight against the Muslim ban, and the U.S. imperialist terrorism of Muslim countries.
The literary landscape is scarred and choked so long as families remain imprisoned and banned and severed by walls. We want a literary world with more undocumented writers, incarcerated writers, Black writers, immigrant writers, Indigenous writers, Muslim writers, refugee writers, queer and trans writers, and we stand with ALL of the people harmed by the U.S.’s relentless cruelty, whether or not they are writers.
They say, “You break the law, you face the consequences.” They say, “zero tolerance.” They say, “This is not a cage,” while pointing to a cage. They say, “This is not our policy,” when referring to their policy. They say all of the coded and uncoded racist stereotypes about whom we should fear. They sound the alarms. They raise the flag and command us to place our hands on our hearts. They remain heartless. They blow all the dog whistles. Sometimes they don’t even bother with the whistles; they just say, “bad people” over and over.
We say, No human being is illegal.
We say, Black Lives Matter.
We say, No Muslim Ban Ever.
We say, Immigrants are welcome here.
We say, No borders, no walls, no prisons.
We say, Abolish ICE.
We say, Your power structure is corrupt and racist. It will fall.
We say, We will not tolerate fascism.
We say, like Gloria Anzaldua said, “This land was Mexican once, was Indian always, and is. And will be again.”
Resistance is a collection of small and grand acts by people who care. Women Who Submit leadership and membership are resisting by attending marches, donating to organizations that support immigrants, and making calls to legislators, administrators, and businesses that profit from the imprisonment of immigrants. This is a list of organizations that need your dollars.
We also present a list of books by women and nonbinary writers of color on borders and the effects of colonialism on black and brown bodies. We recognize that this list is incomplete and ever-growing. We believe it is a good place to start.
We believe in the power of art and literature. We support the amplification of people writing from the margins of white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy. This is where change begins. This is where cracks in the system are revealed and widened, tenacious flowers pushing their way out of the brutalist concrete.
Originally posted on Women Who Submit, a group seeking to empower women writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging submissions to literary journals, and clarifying the submission and publication process. LINK HERE.