LRWA is a national, non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote excellence in romantic fiction, to help writers become published and establish careers in their writing field, and to provide continuing support for writers within the romance publishing industry.
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Public Statement from LRWA
January 9, 2020
We, the Lowcountry Romance Writers of America Chapter (LRWA), stand with our sister chapters in their condemnation of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) national board and staff’s handling of the ethics complaints and advocacy on behalf of author members. We find their management, or lack thereof, of these subsequent crises to be particularly egregious. More specifically, we condemn:
- The lack of transparency and accountability within the organization.
- The apparent gross misconduct by former president Damon Suede and by executive level staff as led by Carol Ritter.
- The failure to follow through on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) promises resulting in continued harm befalling persons from marginalized communities.
- The suspicious disregard of stated policy and procedures.
- The disinclination to effectively respond to their membership’s outrage.
- The lack of information to assist chapter leadership.
- The apparent mishandling and unfair treatment of ethics complaints regarding marginalized members, and specifically Ms. Courtney Milan, which was the case that brought much problematic information out in the open.
- The recent hesitancy or out-right refusal to labor for member advocacy, particularly the latest Dreamspinner Press controversy and the apparent conflict of interest therein.
- The apparent mishandling of ethics complaints filed by people from marginalized communities.
While the resignations of Damon Suede and Carol Ritter are steps in the right direction, more still needs to be done. LRWA petitions the national board to fulfill the remaining calls to action from our fellow chapters, and specifically, the demands of the 19 past national directors and presidents as outlined in their letter to the RWA board dated January 2, 2020.
LRWA is committed to DEI efforts and will remain a safe space for marginalized voices to be uplifted and heard. We sincerely hope the national RWA board and staff share those same values and will work to make expedient and genuine reparations and take appropriate actions to address our concerns and rebuild trust.
Lowcountry Romance Writers of America, including the undersigned:
Amy Quinton, President
Savannah J Frierson, Vice President
Jen Davis, Secretary
Linda Schad, Treasurer
Robin Hillyer-Miles, Member in good standing
Paula Gail Benson, Member in good standing
Elaine Reed, Member in good standing
Angela Lawson Mizell, Member in good standing
Ann Chaney, Member in good standing
Pamela Ann Phillips, Member in good standing
Renay Marsh, Member in good standing
Rebecca A Owens, Member in good standing
Sofia Sawyer, Member in good standing