BkMk Press and our affiliates New Letters and New Letters on the Air stand in solidarity with our black writers, readers, listeners, friends, and community.
We have long made it our mission “to discover, publish, and promote the best and most exciting literary writing, wherever it might be found.” Implicit in this statement is our commitment to inclusion—to searching far and wide for a diversity of voices. But following the national unrest after the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and many others, we must now be more explicit in our mission. We wish to state unequivocally our commitment to amplifying the voices of those who have long been marginalized, ignored, and silenced as a result of systemic racism in our country.
At a time when many of us are asking ourselves what we can do—from protesting, to voting, to supporting black businesses and organizations—our staff is mindful of the ways in which literature can aid in this movement for justice and equity. We find ourselves turning to our New Letters on the Air audio archives to hear the voices of Gwendolyn Brooks, Glenn North, Terrance Hayes, Etheridge Knight, Marcus Jackson, Audre Lorde, Sonia Sanchez, Patricia Smith, DaMaris Hill, Anthony Grooms, Isabel Wilkerson, Anna Deavere Smith, Marcus Wicker, Nikky Finney, Jericho Brown, Mbembe Milton Smith (Selected Poems, BkMk), Stanley Banks (Blue Beat Syncopation, BkMk), Stephanie Powell Watts (We Are Taking Only What We Need, originally from BkMk), Claudia Rankine, and so many more who comment on race, activism, and the power of art. These programs are free to the public and available to stream on: newletters.org. It is our hope that the voices of these poets, novelists, essayists, and artists will inspire, educate, and ignite a passion for change and equality within our community and around the world.