A note on REFUSAL

We lend our power to the spaces we inhabit. We must scrutinize how that power is wielded in our names.

REFUSAL is an act of protest, one that illustrates our boundaries as we erect the foundation of a more just and responsible world. What we choose not to do is just as important as what we choose to do. We, as literary artists, understand the power our words have. Whether it’s inspiring mass movements or consoling a friend, what we say carries weight. Similarly, where and how we host these words — by virtue of the arenas we do or do not enter — also speaks volumes.

In a world where the institutions supposedly erected to protect us gaslight our communities in the midst of horrors like genocide and ethnic cleansing, we must ask for more of every space that yearns to benefit from our labor and our presence. We must activate every institution we are in proximity to to mobilize against empire and normalizing the race towards doom we find ourselves in. As we navigate an increasingly violent world, it is up to us to eschew complacency with the spaces that harbor our words without heeding the intentions therein.

Refusal, while not often a highly visible act, is a powerful and necessary one. An institution’s credibility and relevance is only as important as the people who comprise it. We, as a literary institution, refuse to be complicit in a world careening towards demise; a world that sees people — especially the most marginalized among us — as expendable. We acknowledge that there is no truly ethical consumption in capitalism, but we aim each day to be better stewards in the literary space and beyond.

We offer our platform as one for artists who seek a refuge for their work as they refuse to engage with the institutions that have failed them. If you are a writer who has had work accepted for publication, but have since reconsidered the viability of that entity to be a principled partner to your work, we invite you to share with us here — the bravery required of refusal need not also result in one’s silence. To have your previously accepted submission considered, simply send your work along with its prior acceptance notice to [email protected].

This world can — and will — be better for all of us, but it requires all of us, everywhere. We refuse anything less.

Glass for Breakfast

When we gather we still light candles.
It will not be the last time.

Free Black Gxrlz and Free Palestine

Solidarity is profoundly simple at its core: should we ever find that our comfort is at the expense of someone else’s life, it becomes our responsibility to divorce from such comforts.