Black Lives Matter

I’ve struggled for the past few days as to what to write and do. For my own personal social media and life, it’s easy as my day to day job is to support the many amazing organizations and individuals who are fighting injustice. I help make sure the can do what they need to do and I share today’s reality with my own personal network to raise awareness of the crimes being committed. While that’s appropriate there, it doesn’t fit this site’s focus.

But, what can we, and I, do here?

Based on the traffic to the site and interactions on social media, individuals are looking for escape and distraction and I myself can understand that. It’s risen steadily since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to be consistent. This site is my way to distract myself for a few hours each day and “unwind” from the stress of reality. It’s my mental health break. But, a distraction doesn’t solve issues.

I knew no matter what I wrote these past few days it wouldn’t be enough or right. I could write about the social injustice that has plagued our nation or wax poetically about how we need to learn from the heroes whose adventures we read. But, in the end, those are just words and it’s a history far better being told by people directly impacted by it. One person who has benefited in many ways from that injustice through the systemic issues isn’t a voice to lecture. While I’ve experienced Anti-Semitism and outright discrimination due to being Jewish, I generally don’t live in fear day to day. When most people look at me, they see a white guy and I benefit from all of the privileges that brings. So, to talk about something that’s not my experience didn’t seem appropriate. I at least knew what would be wrong, which was “business as usual” today and going forward.

My job is to listen and help. To amplify those voices and shine a spotlight on the wrongs, the crimes, the abuses. And when it comes to the comics community, help lift those who are overlooked for a myriad of reasons.

When this site was founded 13 years ago, it was “where comics and politics meet.” And it had that focus for quite a while slowly expanding to general news. That underlying original launch goal was there but put to the side in many ways. The site remained, and remains, a platform for those who want to speak. For marginalized voices who may not be able to contribute elsewhere or whose opinions are too controversial elsewhere. We are, and remain committed, to being a progressive voice.

Today is #BlackoutTuesday where many are going silent on their sites and social media to protest what’s going on. While I debated participating I kept coming back to the simple idea that silence right now is wrong. We need our voices heard. We need to amplify the anger. We need to share where we want this nation to go and the ideas in how to fix it. We need to call out the “leaders” who are failing us. Changing an avatar to a black box for a day and remaining silent to me felt hollow and I asked myself what it accomplished? I couldn’t find an answer. I believe in direct action and not remaining silent so that wasn’t it.

This is a platform. We have an audience. And I, and we, can use that.

So today, it’s simple. For the rest of the day, the site will be focused on amplifying voices. It will be focusing on ways you can get involved. It will highlight individuals who are running auctions to raise money for worthy causes like Black Lives Matter. It will spotlight charities you can give to.

The day after and the day after that, I’ll figure out where to go from there and how to get back to our roots. We already highlight a diverse voice of creators from a diverse team of contributors. We can still provide a site where some can escape for a brief moment but also make sure we don’t lose sight that we can do more than just that. The sight was created to do more than just that. We can use our abilities to entertain and do some good. To fight the negativity, spotlight the wrong, and highlight the good.

We can do better. We can always do better. We must do better.

Brett Schenker
Founder/Blogger in Chief – Graphic Policy