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  • Cynthia MacGregor

FOUR HUNDRED YEARS…AND WHAT?

According to a recent news item on BBC’s WORLD NEWS AMERICA, this year, 2019, marks the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first slaves on the shores of what would eventually become America.


It’s an anniversary worth noting…for a number of reasons.


While POCs certainly haven’t yet achieved anywhere near full equality here in the U.S., Blacks have inarguably made great strides since the landing of those first ancestors in 1619.


On the other hand, there is another ethnic group that has been treated with similar unfairness. Of course, I refer to the Native Americans, many of whom approached the early settlers in peace and friendship (think of the first Thanksgiving celebration) only to be called “savages,” have their lands stolen from them, be shunted into reservations, and generally be treated like third-class citizens…if citizens at all.


No, they were never, technically, enslaved as the Blacks were, and one could make a case that “Redskins” is not QUITE as offensive as “Ni**ers,” but you’d be splitting hairs.


Instead of looking back, however, why don’t we all—POCs, Native Americans, and yes, Whites too—look forward…to ways we can improve the way America and Americans treat non-Whites. Whether you who are reading this, are White, Black, or Native (or perhaps brown-skinned or Asian or Inuit), what can YOU do to make things better for those who have been trod upon in ANY group?


We here at AbyD are doing our part, by publishing what are known in the industry as “diversity books.” Want to read a gripping story of Black people who were captured and destined to be slaves but took matters into their own hands and escaped? Read MEECHELI. Want your kids to read about a Native American boy living on “the Rez”? Buy them JUST INDIAN. We have other books, too, that depict and, yes, celebrate the members of minority groups—Black, Native, and also Latino. (The protagonist’s family in MOVING DAY FOR ALEX is an average American family…who happen to be Latino. And that is not our only book with Latino characters.) We also publish books that have nothing to do with people of specific ethnicity but were written by writers of color…like THIS IS MY STORY…IS IT YOUR STORY?


That’s a big part of what we here at AcuteByDesign are doing to promote TRUE equality and defeat injustice—400 years after the first Blacks were brought to the shores of this fledgling land as slaves.


What are YOU doing in this anniversary year and going forward?


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