We Are Here by Piper Huguley

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:

Angela Benson

Michelle Lindo-Rice

Rhonda McKnight

Tia McCollors

Vanessa Miller

Tyora Moody

Pat Simmons

Tiffany L. Warren

Michelle Stimpson

Piper Huguley

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.

You can read more about the history behind her books on http://piperhuguley.com. Stop by and like her Facebook author page Piper Huguley and follow her on Twitter @piperhuguley.

3 Replies to “We Are Here by Piper Huguley”

  1. Piper, thank you very much for your post. I was enlightened by reading your perspective, the perspective of a new author. I published my first Christian novel in 2000, a long 14 years ago. Back then there were very few African-American authors writing and publishing in the Christian fiction genre. I remember banding together with then new Christian fiction authors, Sharon Ewell Foster and Pat G’Orge Walker, to, as you put it, “make a bigger noise in the world and give [Black Christian fiction] a bigger profile.” When I look at you, the other authors comprising Black Christian Reads, and the readers who have embraced Christian fiction that features African-American characters, I am encouraged about our place in the future of Christian publishing. Our past tells me that we won’t go away and our present tells me that we will continue to push past barriers in order to see God’s will fulfilled in our lives and in the lives of those our stories were written to touch. Thank you again for your post.

  2. Piper – It so touched my heart to read your words today. My late friend, Dee Stewart aka Miranda Parker, was a advocate and a voice for black Christian fiction authors. The entire nine years that I was blessed to know her she tirelessly fought for diversity in bookstores, review publications, and conferences. Wherever Christian fiction authors were, she was there fighting for our place on the bookshelf, pushing for a review for a sister-writer friend and insisting on a seat at the table. I miss her passion for the genre, but hope that she’s smiling down from heaven as we band together to show the world “We Are Here” and invite all to read our stories.

  3. Well said!
    What better way to kick off the New Year than with a heart-felt welcome by Piper.
    Her love for our rich African-American past is expressed in her Christian historical novels that are set in at a time in America’s history that many prefer to forget.
    But Black Christian Reads authors will tell stories that will stay with readers for years to come.
    Welcome home!

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