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Community update: June 15, 2020

As a community, we are continually reflecting on what the role of Contemporary Spinster can and should be right now. Is Contemporary Spinster as a platform for feminist writing needed? What does it mean that the editor-in-chief is a white woman? What responsibilities do we, collectively, have as a safe space for critical reflection, examination, and advocating for change? How do we honor our obligations to racial justice, environmental sustainability, de-colonization, and anti-racist work as a community and as individuals?

These are the questions that we are still working through, and we will continue to work through them and reflect on our progress as long as we are a platform for feminist writing. Before we get to our weekly updates, I wanted to share our initial steps to work toward racial justice and structural change:

1. Privilege minoritized voices. We will do that both through the growth of our writing team but also by following a citation and linking policy that centers and highlights the voices of women of color.

2. We will write about and advocate for racial justice, climate awareness, decolonization, abolition, gender equity, and structural change.

3. We will share honestly about our own development as anti-racist writers and humans.

And, we will continue to listen and seek to continually improve in order to learn how we can better support, validate, and affirm, Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC).

This is critically important, and we commit as a community to fighting for change.

Our weekly updates:

Ellen: Aside from doctor appointments, I’m still for the most part, working from and isolating at home.  I did venture out to sit with my 87 year old mother in the parking lot of her building the other day. I hadn’t visited with her in person since the first week of March. Everyone coming in and out were wearing masks, and I find this to be true of most places I pass when driving. The elderly wear masks, and 65-75% of the rest of my community does not.

Our city is encouraging the public to come out for First Fridays and support local businesses/restaurants. I’m not sure how successful that’s been. Most all of the art shows in June and July have been canceled, however, the one I participate in every year is apparently still happening. It’s scheduled for mid-August and it’s a popular one, drawing in an average of 15,000 people during the single day event. This will be the first year I won’t be there since 2013; I’m quite saddened by that.

Rose: Indiana moves into its next phase on Friday rather than today. More things are open in much of the state. Indianapolis is opening more slowly. Some places are opening even more slowly than allowed, including my work and church. Which is good but I am also starting to miss people a lot. I think the biggest change from last week is that in most of the state playgrounds are open now and since the weather was beautiful this weekend I saw the one at the park I used as home base for my bike/run was pretty packed. I did go to an outdoor birthday party where we wore masks and stayed physically distant. It was good to see people in real life.

Laura: As I mentioned last week, fears and even thoughts about COVID-19 were displaced by the need to do internal work and reflect on how I could be both a better ally and if and how Contemporary Spinster could be a space that promoted structural change. As I mentioned above, I think that we can be an anti-racist and activist space, but I think it is going to be hard, and I wanted to make sure before I committed to doing the work that I was ready to do it.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID cases in Utah are spiking, and I find myself concerned for my mother who works in healthcare as well as for my protesting family and friends across the nation (and globe). It seems desperately unfair that those already at a greater risk for COVID-19 because of structural racism might also be at greater risk because they are doing the needed protesting to effect change. I stand with the Black Lives Matter protesters; this is, to me, an added layer of unfairness that they have to put themselves at even further risk to protests for their own right to live.

Ciara: From today Barbados has no curfew in the week, just at the weekends. Things starting to look a lot more like precovid times. There was a March in support of Black Lives Matter on Saturday here, all went well.

Are protests continuing your community? How is COVID-19 still impacting your community and your life? 

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