Sunday, December 29, 2019

Why I'm Sticking with RWA

I'm getting back into the groove following a lovely Christmas holiday in Tucson with my family. I didn't take my laptop, and even read a paper book, staying pretty much offline except for the occasional Instagram post.

It was relaxing and restorative.

When I returned online Friday morning, 12/26, I fell face-first into the the RWA crisis. Since our topic at the SFF Seven this week is whatever is on our minds... well, I don't have much on my mind besides this.

There's a great deal online about it. If you don't know anything, this is a good run-down of the timeline. It's the best I've seen, though I hesitated to link to it because I don't like how Claire frames the situation with words like "implosion," "collapse," and "dinosaurs."

I don't think RWA is coming to an end, despite the almost gleeful predictions of it.

I do think this situation has exposed a number of massive problems. Not to be glib or pollyanna, I see this as a crisis/opportunity.

Yes, systemic racism is, has been, and continues to be a major issue within RWA. Despite concerted strides to correct the problems - with recent significant progress being made - it seems that policies and embedded practices in the organization have allowed a racist, exclusionary mindset to persist. In this particular situation, we've also run afoul of a cult of personality and a personal feud that led to Policies & Procedures being altered and bypassed to pursue a particular vendetta.

Former president (and all-around amazing person) Helen Kay Dimon laid out recommended steps in this tweet thread. I fully support those steps. I think that, if we are brutally thorough, we can get the ship cleaned up and back on course.

RWA has been very good to me. I know it hasn't been for everyone, but I owe a great deal to the organization When I joined as a newbie fiction author in 2007, RWA gave me all the tools to help me in my new career. I want RWA to be that for everyone. That's why I'm not abandoning ship. I'm offering my help to do whatever needs to be done - and I think the next few weeks will be key - so I really hope we can succeed. I don't believe RWA is a dinosaur. I think the organization can be better and do better.

I'm staying as long as there's hope.


  1. On the mind for sure. Your first cup of coffee for Dec 30th says it all very well. There have been so many abandoning the RWA ship, and I believe each person has a right to do what they need to do. And I've been contemplating what I need to do, and sticking around to force change is winning out.

    1. I hope you do what you need to do for you - but would love to have you in the fight!