It was very heartening to receive and read your e-mails in response to our statement of solidarity with the Black community. I am grateful that so many of you—publishing colleagues, authors, translators, editors, designers, booksellers, librarians, business partners, readers, and supporters—commit, with us, to acknowledging, listening, learning, and contributing to the vital work we must do as people of conscience in order to end structural racism. You are the reason why we do what we do.
I was deeply moved by the scenes of hundreds of thousands of protesters across the US who are putting their lives on the line during a pandemic and raising their voices to promote civil rights and defend our constitutional right of “Equal Justice under Law.” But I was outraged and pained as I watched some of the horrific footage from the mass demonstrations and saw how protesters—even journalists and cameramen—were being beaten with police batons, hand-cuffed, and arrested by law enforcement officers who have a history of abusing their powers and avoiding accountability. It is truly hard to grasp how largely peaceful protests against police brutality are being met with a show of force and more police brutality and violence.
It is also hard to reconcile with the idea that every crisis this country has faced in the past three and a half years has been made far worse by a sitting president whose job is to lead, protect, and serve the citizens of this country, but instead chooses tweets and photo-ops that inflame, provoke, spread hate, and incite violence. My hope is that we will not miss this opportunity to harness our rage and energy and turn it into political power—a movement that would elect a president and representatives who will have the courage to advance fundamental change towards dismantling the system of institutional racism and eradicating policies that advance white supremacy at every level in our society.
This week’s events reminded me of Nelson Mandela and a book—a collection of his greatest speeches—we published over a decade ago called Let Freedom Reign: The Words of Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s words—his most potent tools in the struggle against apartheid—are as relevant today as when they were first uttered. It shows that he stood firmly for the principles of equality and democracy.
“Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all … Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign …”
—Excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s inaugural address, May 10, 1994
We are making a pdf of Let Freedom Reign available for $5 (please allow 2-3 days for e-mail delivery) and we will donate 100% of the proceeds to The Action Pac, an organization that is doing important work in combating the rising tide of racism.
Finally, during this time of outrage, it is important to also acknowledge our own implicit biases and consider the changes we can make in our own homes and workplaces. Our bookshelves are a good place to start. Interlink Publishing was built on the foundation that reading marginalized global voices can change the world.
Stay healthy and safe. And thank you for your continued support.