As you might have noticed, this timeline sucks. We’ve been quiet online lately to make sure we did not take up the space needed for organizers or protesters to share their messages. We realized in our silence though, we may have left you wondering about our stance on what is happening in America, so we’re going to take just a second and make sure you know where we stand.

AWA has always been about elevating and supporting the quietest and most ignored voices. We believe strongly in the cause millions of people have taken to the streets for. The systemic racism black Americans face every moment of their lives is not just a problem for “their” community. We are a community together. We are so, so proud of everyone who has taken to the streets to peacefully lend their voices to a just and truly American cause.

Since the very beginning, AWA at every level was created and organized by a diverse group of humans and together we’ve been able to grow from a small con with a few hundred people to tens of thousands. We have been so lucky to have gotten this far, and we’ve seen first hand that we are so much stronger when we work together and contribute all of our various experiences to make a unique event for fans by fans. Our goal at AWA has always been to create a safe space where people can come together and celebrate together.

Countless comics, anime, manga and stories have demonstrated the effects of systemic prejudice and injustice. We’ve seen mutants, demi-humans, naturals, and coordinators that have been discriminated against for things that logically make little sense. It took bravery and determination to better these fictional worlds, and we are now being called on to do the same. You are the protagonist of your own story, and you have many choices on how to support the movement. Whether you take the role of a healer, helping people who are injured, a bard who writes about the truth, a merchant donating goods or some other role/hybrid is up to you.

We can’t allow the justice system to continue as it has, and the hundreds of videos we’ve seen of peaceful protests erupting due to asymmetrical police responses only reinforce the point millions upon millions have been screaming online and at demonstrations. We need change. We need accountability. We need it now. Anime Weekend Atlanta is with you and beside you. At our next convention, we will be taking donations as well as donating a percentage of all badge sales for this cause.

If you are looking for ways to help, want to understand what these protests are asking for, or want to understand why this is happening, here are a few groups we’ve seen that are doing incredible work. Feel free to ask us if you want more information about any of these groups, or just need to vent about the world. Mental health is still important! Take breaks, take walks, drink water. We’re making progress! If you end up donating from this post, let us know. Even the smallest amounts help and it would really mean the world to us.

If you have someone in your life who still doesn’t understand the Black Lives Matter movement, here are 9 ways to attempt to frame it. We encourage everyone to start a dialogue with the people they know about the importance and purpose of this movement.

https://www.vox.com/2016/7/11/12136140/black-all-lives-matter