I’m taking a brief break from a rewrite after creating a new chapter (yay, me), enjoying this warm but cloudy spring day in a new spot in the yard, and listening to chickens coo and cluck in the background. This setting is so peaceful, and so far removed from many of the things that trouble my mind.
I’ve read a lot of hate and vitriol on the Internet lately, about one group of fraternity boys singing a horribly racist chant, about Jewish fraternity houses at my graduate Alma Mater being vandalized by swastikas and the terrifying spread of anti-semitism in Europe, about Ashley Judd facing threats of murder and sexual violence because she tweeted an opinion about a sporting event, about state judges refusing the direction of federal judges concerning marriage equality (and states proposing and passing measures designed to skirt the law where marriage equality has already been decided), and a measure proposed in California that seeks to make homosexuality a capital crime, and make it legal to kill people for being gay in the United States.
Where does such hatred come from? What is so frightening about people who don’t all look the same on the outside, or people with different religious beliefs, or women with opinions, or consenting adults joining in a bonding ceremony in the eyes of the law (and/or a higher power)? These questions baffle me. I feel both sadness and fear, and wonder what I can do, as one lone voice and pair of hands, to advocate for peace, healing, and love.
Standing in shining counterbalance is the ongoing discussion in Children’s Literature about diversity and gender equality, and I’m so glad more people are finally beginning to talk openly and join the stalwart and learned voices of folks who have been trying to move us forward in these areas for a long time. Though the conversation is difficult, and awkward at times, and heated at other times, the conversation exists, and it continues. I do not see it going away, or fading into the background. To me, this is a triumph in a time when triumphs are needed.
I’m proud to be a part of Children’s Literature. I believe we can lead, not just reflect, what’s happening in publishing, or society as a whole.