This holiday season has seen one of the most dramatic debates over the future of Romance Writers of America, one of the world’s largest organizations dedicated to the romance genre. If you haven’t heard about it, this is a link to a very concise summary of the situation. As a disclaimer, I am normally holding off from getting into these kinds of debates, or expressing strong opinions on controversial topics, but I just couldn’t help it in this case.
I have been an RWA member for the past several years, and have received awards for fantasy romance from one of the RWA chapters. RWA has over 9000 members, including many authors that I admire, who write beautiful romance fiction. Unlike some other organizations out there, RWA has always prided itself on being inclusive and supportive of authors’ careers. With my latest new book having the strongest romance elements yet, I was looking forward to participating more in RWA’s mission.
It has been heartbreaking to me to see all of these good things explode over the actions of very few RWA members who, well, happen to be currently in charge. They have made some misguided decisions, met with overwhelming protests by thousands of RWA members. Many great authors and RWA advocates withdrew their membership and resigned from leadership positions over these actions. I respect these decisions, and am very saddened to see them go.
I am choosing to stick around for now because of my belief that the actions of a few people cannot possibly negate an entire organization. I may be too optimistic, but I believe it is only a matter of time (a short time, I hope) before RWA sees a major leadership change that will put it back on track. I want my vote to be one of those that will make it happen. I want out faith restored in what RWA is ultimately all about — the Happily Ever After.
My respect and support goes to all those who are now protesting the leadership decisions and are expressing their support by posting, tweeting, speaking out — and yes, resigning in protest. As an optimist, I hope that this horrific situation is actually an opportunity to make the organization better, to fix the policies and elect the leadership who will ensure that nothing like this will ever happen again. I want to be there and see this through. And I hope, when it does, we can mend the wounds and go back to the Happily Ever After.