Statement from North Atlantic Books: The work of racial justice continues
Black lives matter.
North Atlantic Books supports and stands by the protesters and organizations asserting and protecting the lives and humanity of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color. We wholeheartedly denounce anti-Blackness, white supremacy, and the increasing militarization of police forces that are killing Black and Brown individuals.
The last 8 minutes and 46 seconds of George Floyd’s life are a sad and stark encapsulation of our nation’s 400-year violence toward African Americans. As author Lama Rod Owens asks in his new book Love and Rage, “How authentically kind can white people be to me or any other Black or Brown person if they lack the compassion to acknowledge their conditioning as white supremacists? How kind can they be when at the end of the day, this lack of acknowledgement perpetuates their dominance over my body?”
To dismantle a racist and oppressive system, those shocked by recent events must also learn the history of the racist state and understand that we are not witnessing something new; rather, we are seeing the results of centuries of violence and suppression. For long-time activists and collaborators and for folks who are just now coming to the work, leaders in the fields of racial equity have curated and offered educational resources, several of which we share below. As James Baldwin once said, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
Racial justice has been prioritized by North Atlantic Books for the last several years, prompting changes in the books we publish and the way we operate as a collective. We will continue our active, vocal antiracist work—not just this week, or this national moment, but for as long as North Atlantic Books exists. We will stumble, be imperfect, and we will be brave and persistent.
We will do our part in building a world that answers the call put forth by Rev. angel Kyodo williams in her book Radical Dharma: “Will we express the promise of and commitment to liberation for all beings, or will we instead continue a hyper-individualized salvation model—the myth of meritocracy—that is the foundation of this country’s untruth?”
Right now, it is crucial not only to support those on the front lines, but also to elevate the voices of Black and Brown individuals. As a book publisher, this is our central work. As Dr. Joy Cox, author of the upcoming Fat Girls in Black Bodies, tells us: “We need folks who will be interrupters and upheave the damage that has been done, turning over the narratives of our lived experiences back into our hands. We have never been okay with being spoken over or silenced. We are far past the space of having dialogues if actionable change is not on the itinerary.”
As a Bay Area–based publisher, we want to highlight below some of the many organizations in Oakland and Berkeley working to dismantle white supremacy. It is incredible to see such love and revolution in action; if you can, we hope you’ll join us in donating to them, or ones in your area, at this ripe moment and onward.
Be diligent and be safe.
In love and rage,
The staff and board at North Atlantic Books
- Anti Police Terror Project
- Black Organizing Project
- East Oakland Collective
- Ella Baker Center
- Essie Justice Project
- Just Cities
- Lead to Life
- Marcus Books
- The Oakland Second Line Project
- People’s Breakfast Oakland
Artwork courtesy of Omileye Achikeobi-Lewis, author of the forthcoming book Peace Is Me.