In 2018, during a Regional Team discussion of diversity and conference planning, Co-Illustrator Coordinator Jeannette Bradley proposed sponsoring a conference scholarship to boost membership among children’s book creators from traditionally underrepresented groups. The Regional Team approved the Windows & Mirrors Scholarships, which provide three recipients with free tuition to the NESCBWI annual conference each year, and two recipients with free tuition at a NESCBWI Agent/Editor Day each year.
Jeanette Bradley also received approval to form the NESCBWI Equity and Inclusion Committee as a way to formalize the region’s efforts to establish initiatives that support increased equity, diversity, and inclusion. The committee’s founding members, Autumn Allen, Jeanette Bradley, Janet Costa Bates, Valerie Bolling, Ken Daley, Amitha Knight, Rajani LaRocca, Lisa Stringfellow, and Mia Wenjen, are from all over the region. They meet quarterly via Skype and in-person at the annual conference.
By increasing access and support for writers and illustrators from groups historically marginalized and underrepresented in children’s literature, promoting education for members around issues of diversity and inclusion as it relates to publishing, and planning events and gatherings to support a diverse community, the committee hopes to increase the depth and quality of books that will meet the needs of all children.
The committee is currently developing a strategic plan to increase SCBWI membership among creators from historically underrepresented and marginalized groups in our region and to make current members who identify with those groups feel welcomed and valued. They also plan to develop more events and programming to meet the needs of diverse creators in our region. To find out more, look for the articles this committee is contributing to the NESCBWI NEWS.