Yesterday, Hal Niedzviecki resigned from his position as editor at WRITE Magazine in response to an opinion piece he wrote in the spring issue featuring Indigenous writers. In the piece, Hal writes about cultural appropriation, and argues that all writers should be encouraged to imagine other peoples, cultures and identities. Hal’s statement about the piece and his resignation is here.
The piece did not appear in Broken Pencil. However, because Hal is the founder and current publisher of Broken Pencil Magazine, the Broken Pencil editorial team wishes to address the issues raised by the piece and response.
We firmly believe in the existence of cultural appropriation, and in the inherent harm that it does to Black, POC and Indigenous artists as an act of racism and violence. With this belief in mind, we have endeavored to work with, review and feature Indigenous writers and artists in an attempt to allow their perspectives and ideas to speak for themselves, as well as publishing pieces that have critically examined appropriation and representation in independent art communities. Still, we acknowledge that we have a very long way to go and much to learn when it comes to making our magazine truly inclusive and intersectional.
We take the discussion around Hal’s piece as a call to action to work harder as a magazine to make sure that we are as inclusive and open to all voices as we can be.
For the last twenty years, Broken Pencil has been at the vanguard of celebrating independent art and giving marginalized voices a platform. Broken Pencil’s loyal rotating crew of staff and volunteers feels very fortunate to have this platform where we can build community, celebrate all aspects of DIY culture and incite conversation. And it is part of our mandate and responsibility to ensure that our pages feature adequate representation from Indigenous, Black and POC artists.
At this time, we are having some difficult and important conversations within our organization, but most importantly we are listening and learning from everything that has happened. We invite you to reach out to us if you have thoughts or concerns at email@example.com.
Hal Niedzviecki (founder, Broken Pencil Magazine)
Jonathan Valelly (incoming editor, Broken Pencil Magazine)
Alison Lang (outgoing editor, Broken Pencil Magazine)