Doing the Right Thing

by Linda Rodriguez

in Crime recently published this important document, Report for
Change: The 2016 SinC Publishing Summit Report on Diversity, Equity,
and Inclusion in the Mystery Community,
that I was privileged to
be a part of.

have been so proud of SinC for this work that they initiated
themselves without us “diversity” folks having to scream
and beat our heads against the wall. And they’re immediately putting
it into action. See this year’s SinC into Great Writing workshop at
Bouchercon–all about writing authentically about a diverse world and
people (details at the end of this post).

of my adult life, I have been one of the few outliers in
predominantly white (and often also predominantly male) institutions
and organizations–I was the director of a university women’s center
for decades. I have usually had to be the only voice for diversity at
the table, reminding of other cultures and needs, often to
patronizing remarks of “There’s our Linda with her diversity
again.” As a writer who came to the mystery field through poetry
and literary prose, I was and still am active in AWP, where I have
chaired the Indigenous Caucus and am a member of the Latino Caucus
and the Disability Caucus and where our fight for any kind of
representation or access is often bitter and too often denied.

the mystery field, although it’s almost entirely white, I found the
writers and their organizations welcoming and truly open and
encouraging to the “Other.” Publishing is, of course,
another matter.

can’t tell you how delighted I was when the board of SinC came to me
and said, “We want to do this study. Will you be one of the
people who helps us–and helps us find others and resources about
this, as well?” To my knowledge, none of the few of us “diverse”
folks in SinC were beating this drum or taking them to task. And now,
they’re actually beginning to implement their own recommendations
from the study. I’m so thrilled to see this happen.

would hope that everyone who writes, reads, or publishes crime
fiction would read The Report for Change and take its
recommendations and suggested first steps to heart. At the end of the
document is a list of good specific steps that we as crime fiction
publishing, Sisters in Crime national, local SinC chapters, and
individual writers and readers can take to make a real difference in
this important regard.

for that first important step that SinC is taking. If you’re planning
on attending Bouchercon in NOLA 9/15-18, come a day earlier (Wed.,
9/14) and attend SinC Into Great Writing, “Writing Our
Differences–Doing Diversity Right,” where the fantastic Walter
Mosley will keynote and workshops dealing with creating authentic
diversity in dialogue, character, plotting, and setting will be
taught by Frankie Bailey, Greg Herren,
and me. At the end of the afternoon, all five of us will gather in a
panel with other diverse writers for a freewheeling, wide-ranging Q&A

is a great opportunity, and I’m so grateful to Sisters in Crime for
offering it and for doing the work of
Report for Change
to which this workshop is a first response. So come join in! As
always, SinC makes this easily affordable–and if you’re a college
student, there are reduced fees.

5 replies
  1. Leslie Budewitz
    Leslie Budewitz says:

    Thank you, Linda, for the kind words for our beloved Sisters in Crime, and for your enthusiastic participation!

  2. Linda Rodriguez
    Linda Rodriguez says:

    Leslie, I can't tell you how much it means, after a lifetime of this battle, to have an organization I belong to and believe in take this plunge without us having to push you over the edge. Bravo to you, Catriona MacPherson, and all the SinC board and committee who worked on this!

  3. Catriona McPherson
    Catriona McPherson says:

    On the subject of "there goes Linda" etc: I think I've made just one executive decree in my time as vice, then actual, then past president of SinC – and I'm not sure anyone even noticed, because I sneaked it into an inside page of this report during a draft – but it's this. SinC must be an eye-roll-free zone.

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