As a mom, I know far too much about the animated movie category at the Oscars every year. That’s the category where I can pick a sure winner since those are the movies I have seen. I’ve endured repeated viewings of the 2008 movie Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who. The movie is about an elephant named Horton, who when he takes time to notice, encounters an entire world on a speck of dust—the whole town of Whoville. It’s a world that he knows nothing about. The Whos get his attention by chanting their motto over and over: “We Are Here.” Once he knows more about the Whos, Horton’s life is enriched and changed.
For far too long, Black Christian Authors have been treated like Whoville on a dust speck. Christian Fiction featuring Black characters has been wildly successful as can be witnessed by several of my author sisters, and yet, too many Christian bookstores don’t notice us, or don’t stock our books to sell as they should. Whenever there are discussions of Christian Fiction, the selected topics do not reflect the rich diversity of the entire Christian fiction world of publication. When I see these exclusions, I always wonder, would the God that we know and serve intend for this exclusion to continue? We are Christian storytellers too. We Are Here.
It is said that eleven o’clock on a Sunday morning in the United States is the segregated time of the week. Racially, it is rare to see Christians worshiping together and the Christian publishing industry seems to feel that this separation should continue in publishing. If we intend to follow God’s purpose, we must ask ourselves if excluding people from our world view is what God would want for us. After all, fiction is about allowing us to see life through the eyes of others and to appreciate each others humanity. If we don’t expand our reading lists, we close ourselves off from one another. The expansion of our minds, hearts and ideas must happen now. We Are Here.
In 2014 a much needed #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign started. It must continue and spread. It’s imperative that consumers, no matter where they come from or what color they are, are allowed to appreciate the rich diversity of choice among Christian authors. So when, as a newly published author of a few months, I was asked to join Black Christian Reads, I was delighted. And I immediately understood the purpose of this group. By banding together, the ten of us will make a bigger noise in the world and give Black Christian Reads a bigger profile. After all, it was the collective shout of the Whos that created their strength. Horton heard them say it: We Are Here.
So in 2015, it must be made clear: We are Christian storytellers, too. We Are Here:
Tiffany L. Warren
Welcome to 2015 and the start of Black Christian Reads.
Piper Huguley is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series and the forthcoming “Migrations of the Heart” series. The first three books in the “Home to Milford College” series are available on Amazon and Nook. The first book in the “Migrations of the Heart” series, A Virtuous Ruby, will be published in July 2015. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and son.