SFA Board Statement

The San Francisco Area chapter was built around the same mission as RWA National: to advance the professional and business interests of career-focused romance writers through networking and advocacy. The SFA-RWA Board’s commitment to this mission runs deep. We are dedicated to equitable access to chapter resources, such as educational, networking, advocacy, and promotional opportunities; and we strongly oppose discrimination of any kind based on race, color, religion, creed, gender, gender expression, age, disability or sexual orientation. 

 

We believe that without transparency, open and honest dialog, and a commitment to a safe and inclusive environment, there can be no trust between membership and leadership. Without trust, our mission cannot succeed.

 

Incidents have come to light in recent weeks showing that the benefits of national membership have not been granted equally, the code of ethics has not been applied equitably, and discrimination has been not only tolerated, but allowed to flourish. 

 

Examples include, but are not limited to:

 

  • Inequitable adherence to RWA ethics and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies; inequitable attention to ethics and DEI complaints

  • Inequitable advocacy efforts across a range of issues (e.g., Dreamspinner, Cockygate, Christiane Serruya, Hallmark)

  • Inconsistent awarding of PRO Memberships

  • A history tolerating a prejudiced judging pool for the RITA awards and a failure to offer an appeals process or material remediation to impacted authors

  • A history of tolerating industry affiliates who do not align to RWA DEI standards; a history of allowing problematic industry affiliates to remain in good standing

  • Stripping fairness provisions from RITA guidelines

 

Trust has been broken, and while we see the change in leadership that was announced today as a good start to changing the systemic problems that plague our organization, it is only the beginning of necessary change. In order to replenish our trust, the Board of the SFA-RWA chapter calls for:

 

  • A full and independent forensic audit of all financial activity, with special attention paid to conflicts of interest

  • An independent audit of the Members Code of Ethics and policies related to DEI; an audit of the handling of all past ethics and DEI complaints within that period

  • A thorough review of all by-laws and policies and procedures, including paid staff roles and responsibilities 

  • An investigation into past RITA and Golden Heart preliminary and final round judging pools and a commitment to expel those who violated current inclusion policies

  • Clear timelines, regular updates and complete transparency of all audit report findings, with only a minimum of identifying information of general members (not Board members) redacted

 

We believe that only this level of concrete action can begin to repair the damage done.

 

Signed,

The Board of Directors, San Francisco Area Chapter

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