After an extensive search and interview process, SCBWI brought April Powers on board in June as its first chief equity and inclusion officer. Recently Southern Breeze caught up with April to talk about herself, her job, and what’s planned for SCBWI. Here's the second part of our Q and A with April:
Q: I noticed SCBWI changed the logo for Pride Month. Is this emblematic of things to come?
A: Making more use of social media is certainly a high priority. For instance, with the LGBTQ+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others), we’re in contact with some of our members on an ongoing basis to figure out how to provide for people who are writing and providing content to and about LGBTQ+ families. I won’t speak for those members: I want to hear from you and learn your thoughts on where we’re lacking and how we can do better.
We’re also looking at highlighting some of our members’ work in months that are designated to highlight them—so when we update the profile page for you to tell us who you are, check those boxes that apply to you. Some of those months include Asian Heritage month, Hispanic Heritage month, etc.
Q: How are we addressing inclusion for students and members who are disabled?
A: One step is to make the website and our social media accessible. For instance, if you include a hashtag in a social media post, the first letter of each word should be capitalized for the computer or translator to be able to read it aloud. Another step, which you will have seen if you’ve viewed any of the SCBWI digital workshops this summer, is we’re including an ASL (American Sign Language) translator.
Q: Any final thoughts for our members?
A: Lin is unapologetically leading an antiracist organization. We support all creatives — every type. We can’t have an environment where any of that creativity is squashed, squandered, or made to feel less than because someone feels their story matters more. Or that their values matter more—a lot of misunderstandings are based on cultural values people misunderstand. I know we’re international, but our staff is small, mighty, and fierce, including our volunteers. I look forward to the time when we can resume in-person events. And I can’t wait to get to know as many of you as possible.
If you’d like to email April directly, she can be reached at aprilpowers (at) scbwi (dot) org.
And special thanks to ARA Lisa Stauffer for this in depth Q and A with April Powers!