To Black members of the Sewanee Community, the broader student body, and our readers,
The Sewanee Review stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and condemns the murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd. Our hearts break that such injustices continue to be perpetrated, but our hearts swell with hope and optimism at the most recent protests’ display of unity and their promise of systemic change. This is a time of extraordinary opportunity in our country—and here at the university—to make lasting changes for the better.
The Review is committed to producing a publication that is truly representative of American letters. In recognition of the fact that the Review’s early history is bound up with repression and injustice, the new editorship has been committed to a redress of longstanding gender, ethnic, and racial imbalances in whom it publishes. While the Review is more diverse in the work it publishes and the writers it champions than at any time in its history, we also recognize that we as a magazine, and one that is a part of a larger educational institution, still have work to do. The names that appear in our table of contents or those writers who are awarded prizes are attempts to reflect more fully and inclusively the current state of letters. Their names are not the end of this work, only its beginning. The events of the past several weeks have only spurred the Review to intensify these efforts.
In the coming weeks and months, we will be looking inward—to further reevaluate and correct our own practices and policies in terms of inclusion and understanding—as well as outward, to the ways we can create more opportunities for BIPOC writers, readers, and future editors here in our community and in the larger republic of letters. To that end, we are committed to the following actions:
1. To use our privileged position to amplify and affirm the work we must do as editors at this publication, at this institution, to not merely be inclusive but actively anti-racist in all that we do.
2. To make space in our pages and online, as we did with the recent Corona Correspondences, for timely dispatches from writers, especially BIPOC writers.
3. To create additional professionalization opportunities in literary publishing, writing, editing, and criticism for current students at Sewanee, especially BIPOC students.
4. To expand the Review’s masthead in order to include more voices in our editorial process and to more accurately reflect who is publishing and editing.
We ask the Sewanee community and the broader student body to stay tuned for further announcements regarding our progress in these areas.
The Review recognizes the justifiable feelings of impatience in oppressed communities. They have long been working for change. It is time for us to recommit ourselves to this cause at the Sewanee Review.
The Sewanee Review staff
Adam Ross, Editor
Eric Smith, Managing Editor & Poetry Editor
Jennie Vite, Assistant Editor
Hellen Wainaina, Assistant Editor
Julia Harrison, Editorial Assistant