Three summers ago, the world seemed frozen – and convulsed – all at once.

The coronavirus pandemic that began in March 2020 and the lockdown orders that followed restricted entire nations only to the most necessary activities. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers in May sparked worldwide demonstrations against racism and brought the Black Lives Matter movement to home pages and front pages everywhere.

36 months later, the world has moved on. Pandemic restrictions have lifted and urban centers are mostly free of protests. But how have we changed? In publishing especially, what is different about our jobs, our professional relationships, and our attitudes?

Did you answer, “Everything”? Or “Nothing?”

That question – “How have we really changed?” – is the challenge presented by Dianndra Roberts, the Senior Publishing Coordinator for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Dianndra Roberts co-chairs the DEI Advisory Council of the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors and is the DEIA Associate Editor and a chef for The Scholarly Kitchen blog, published by SSP, the Society of Scholarly Publishing.

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Dianndra Roberts recently shared with me her reflections on the progress made since the Summer of 2020 toward ending the cycle of racism and discrimination in publishing and everywhere else.

“What does it mean as a Black woman to speak out against racism in your organization and in this profession? Dianndra, has speaking out made you vulnerable to danger, and how do you respond?” I asked.

“I’m not going to say it was easy, and everything we wanted went the way we wanted it to go, or it didn’t take work,” Roberts replied. “Just to say it as it is, when a group of Black people start to organize, it immediately becomes considered political, even if we just wanted to be able to do peer support with each other, and we were not trying to riot or anything. But naturally, somehow, a group of Black people is a political thing.

“I believe in what I stand for, and I think that we should all be treated well and with the same expression. And if me saying anything I’ve said changes it for the person behind me, then yeah, I’m going to keep doing it. I’m just going to keep doing that.”


Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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