Hand Papermaking stands in solidarity with The Movement for Black Lives and all those who are protesting nationwide and across the globe against systemic racism, police brutality, and social injustice that disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous, and communities of color. We state unequivocally that all lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter.
At the core of Hand Papermaking’s mission is to celebrate the transformative act of making paper by hand. In this time of necessary societal transformation, we recognize that Hand Papermaking has a responsibility to acknowledge to ourselves and to our community that we have been operating within a culture that perpetuates social inequities. We acknowledge that, throughout our history, the vast majority of our Board and staff—as well as the artists whose work is reflected in our publications—are white. We are resolved to thoroughly identify similar, and often-hidden, patterns and practices within our organization and publications and take concrete steps to replace them so that we may fulfill our role as the journal of record that truly reflects the full breadth of work in our field.
The Board met last night to specifically address these issues. Some actions we will take immediately include: creating and making public our guiding principles that address intentional diversity on an organizational and programmatic level; reviewing and evaluating all aspects of Hand Papermaking to identify inequities within and take necessary action. In discussing how solidarity can extend beyond our current print and online channels, the Board is establishing a fellowship for Black writers (Donate here to help us launch the Black Writers Fellowship program) and offering financial support for organizations that are aligned with our mission and that address Black social-justice issues. These are urgent matters that require thoughtful consideration. We will keep you informed of our progress and our actions via social media, email, and upcoming quarterly newsletters. And a report will be published in print in our Summer 2021 issue of the magazine.
Where we can be nimble is on social media, which we are using now to uplift and center Black artists and papermakers. We invite you to check out the work of Black artists working in hand papermaking on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
We will continue to report on our actions as we hold ourselves accountable; and we ask you to do the same.
We are listening and learning from organizations that are on the frontlines working for social justice. Members of our Board and staff have made contributions to the following organizations:
The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), which supports Black-led rapid response efforts and long-term strategy, policy, and infrastructure investments in the movement ecosystem.
Juxtaposition Arts, which works at the nexus between social justice and the arts in Minneapolis, near where Hand Papermaking’s main office is located.
The People’s Paper Co-op, part of The Village of Arts and Humanities, an art and advocacy project based in North Philadelphia which connects formerly incarcerated women with hand papermakers, artists, civil rights lawyers, city officials, and others focused on improving access to jobs, housing, and education.
We encourage you to support these efforts or find one closer to home. It will take all of us everywhere to dismantle systemic racism. It is a long time coming, and the time is now.
In creative solidarity,
The Board of Hand Papermaking