For the 24 hour period ending at 5:00AM Pacific time tomorrow, Daniel Handler will match all donations to #SupportWNDB up to $100,000, and in the first 7 of those hours we’ve raised FORTY THOUSAND DOLLARS. This is not a celebration of Mr. Handler, to be clear. I accept his apology for his enraging comments at the National Book Awards ceremony, I’m glad his money will be put to good use, and I believe in the value of making an effort to atone for mistakes, even those as hideous as the one he made, but I don’t celebrate him or his matching gift.
I celebrate Jacqueline Woodson, for the honor she rightfully received, and for the remarkable literary achievement that is BROWN GIRL DREAMING. And I celebrate the people whose gifts are truly the heart and soul of the #SupportWNDB campaign: all of us who’ve been doing this work, and that goes way back before We Need Diverse Books came into being. The matching gift has value, but it only has value in that it’s following up on the commitment, ferocity, and generosity of the people whose gifts are being matched.
Handler’s words should never be forgotten. He’s making amends, but he is not an example to follow, a leader, or an inspiration. He’s following OUR example. WE are leading him. WE are the source of inspiration. And to state it personally, all of you inspire me. Thank you. Thank you for unmistakably demonstrating that we will not let these offenses go by unchallenged. Thank you for leading the way.