Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

by Shelly L. Francis

As the founder/publisher and (so far) sole employee of Creative Courage Press, I want to go on record that I do stand in solemn solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Global Network movement. I am opposed deep in my soul to the brutal murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and too many more Black lives that have been taken in hatred and without justice. I am deeply opposed to state-sanctioned genocide, to systemic marginalization and exclusion, to acts of hatred and bigotry that dehumanize and degrade, to violence based on the color of one’s skin or other aspects of identity.   

Creative Courage Press is a startup independent publishing company and so far, a DIY operation of one woman and more than a dozen collaborating authors with works in progress. I am not in a position yet to make a statement about my hiring or HR practices, because so far, it’s just me and my LLC.  I commit to hire and/or contract with individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, nurturing meaningful, relationships and an inclusive, trustworthy company culture.

Amplifying voices, stories and practices that contribute to “courage for the complexity of being human” is the mission of Creative Courage Press, which cannot exist without the intentional inclusion of Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We are not whole otherwise. 

I intend to be in business for the long-haul to contribute to the reinvention of this institution and industry known as Publishing. A key part of that reinvention must include the voices and valuing of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as authors and leaders within the business. 

Creative Courage Press is committed to creative collaborations with Black, Indigenous, and People of Color as authors, bookstore owners, editors, artists, and in other roles in publishing, production and promotion, including the reader community, libraries and schools. How that looks in practice will unfold with intention as the company grows. Efforts include personal inner work to ensure a growing awareness and accountability toward racism and white supremacy, implicit bias, oppressions, and ignorant blindness, from individual to community to system levels. 

Creative Courage Press was founded to center authors and their voices more than “the book as product” and is quite willing to (and already does) advise, mentor, edit/develop, and connect authors with other publishers who may be positioned to be of higher service than is possible in our start-up phase. That’s part of our commitment to creative collaboration. 

Stay tuned for blogs and books that share progress (not perfection) and good faith efforts to become a high-integrity publisher known as anti-racist. 

Reimagining a more just, inclusive, beautiful and courageous world, and such a world of publishing, is an honor and a calling. May we do it together with social, moral, creative and collective courage!