June 21, 2020 by The Citron Review
In an interview the other day, the Vice President of the United States wouldn’t say Black lives matter. He refused to say the words. Friday was Juneteenth, a day when we acknowledge that in 1865, a group of enslaved African Americans in Texas were finally freed. They were notified that the Civil War was over.
In my house and in my classroom, we say Black lives matter because they do. We also wear masks for our safety and the safety of others. Quite often, we use literature to communicate our true feelings, our needs, and our stories. We read and write literature to gain perspective and to understand or empathize with voices different from our own. Giving a platform to those voices is the next step.
The Citron Review is a national and an international journal. We proudly support writers who entrust us with their art and stories. As the United States struggles for justice and equality, we must champion civil rights wherever we can. Underrepresented voices must be heard. That also means inviting, then publishing, a diversity of voices in order to write an equitable world together.
In our Citron Summer Issue, these micros break from conventional forms across the genres. We begin with a ghostly meditation from Cathy Ulrich, a remembrance of familial loss by Erin Jamieson, and Howie Good’s plunge into honest reflection where even the river feels the weight may be too much to bear. Then our section seeks renewal finding healing—almost scientific—power in nature, first with John Linstrom’s micropoem, and then the pair of transcendent declarations of life by Virginia Eggerton, concluding with a hopeful coda to “Begin Again” by Alyssa Jordan.
I hope these micros inspire our readers to submit the wildest expressions of humanity — the unheard stories. There’s room for sadness, grief, science, hope, joy, invention, and humor in our world. And we ask our readers to encourage any unheard friends with stories and poems to send to us. We are listening.
When someone is in pain, acknowledging this pain is necessary for healing. Healing is also its own journey, and it begins with action.
This is why we say the names of victims like Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, and countless other victims of systemic racism. We cannot refuse basic dignity for our neighbors, coworkers, and communities. We must continue saying, Black lives matter. More people must hear. And for those who didn’t hear it before but are willing to change, we can say it some more.
Literature gives us an opportunity to connect, learn, teach, fight for change and heal. In a 1979 interview with The New York Times, James Baldwin said, “You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world….The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way a person looks or people look at reality, then you can change it.”
The Citron Review