17 Swanky Things / Swanky 17s

Statement from the New 2017 Debut Group Admin

Hi, all,

Thank you for your patience while the new 2017 Debut Group admin works on a way forward, taking into account advice, feedback, and experiences of the 2017 YA and MG debut authors. We are still working, but for now wanted to say the following.

“Recent events have underscored for us the importance of using this group as a force for positive change. As children’s authors, we are all privileged with a public platform. We strongly feel that everyone with such a platform has a responsibility to use it with sensitivity, and to push back against the rhetoric of intolerance. We speak directly to the future, and as such we feel our responsibility is greater than most. We realize the importance of committing ourselves to protecting the voices of #ownvoices authors, to supporting their books and all books that teach compassion and empathy, acceptance and inclusivity, hope and agency, and to helping our members learn how to incorporate respect for diversity and difference into their work and day-to-day discourse.

We are working on proactive strategies to minimize hurtful mistakes by our members, and our primary goal is to create a space that is safe and supportive for all voices, and particularly those that are marginalized. We do recognize that harmful mistakes have been and likely will be made again. We have seen members (including some of us) make such mistakes, learn from them and go on to help educate others. We think this kind of progress is essential, and it weighed into our decision to continue this group.

As long as our members commit to acknowledging and learning from mistakes, we commit to providing them with the resources and support to do so. The weight of this responsibility will not fall on the marginalized voices in our group unless they specifically volunteer to help us in this work, and it will not manifest in a way that jeopardizes the safety and well-being of others.

The views of individual members of our group do not represent the views of the group as a whole, however we have invited any members who cannot at least agree to supporting and acting according to the views above to step back from the group at the current time. While it is unfortunate that we have come to this impasse, we can no longer prize unity above our need to speak out for what we feel is right.”

We thank you for your patience!


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